Secession or Declaration of Independence? Part 5 of 5

April 20, 2010

by Timothy Baldwin

“Good intent” or “good faith” is not the boundary of power. Law is the boundary. As John Locke states, “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins.”[1] Where the law does not grant to the government the power to do an act, then the government’s doing that act in contradiction to the law is tyranny. The “law” certainly includes the U.S. Constitution, as it declares itself to be the supreme law of the land.[2] As such, the government’s exercise of powers beyond the constitution is tyrannous, regardless of “intent.”

Additionally, constitutions may be poorly constituted, not recognizing the principles of God’s laws and freedom. Thus, the people would have a natural right to secede–despite the authority expressed in the constitution not being violated–by virtue of the purpose of society and government. Reasonably so, it can be stated that where bad faith is present or expressly known, then tyranny certainly would follow from that state of mind. But to conclude that where good faith purportedly exists there is no tyranny is absolutely incorrect.

Moreover, determining intent of the government is virtually impossible. Use common sense and observation: there is not a law passed and executed that is expressly intended to do harm to a people out of bad faith. Tyrants are not so foolish and stupid. Their rise to power largely becomes acquired through certain kinds of genius and subtlety. They accomplish their agenda through the guise of goodness and justice. As Walter Williams says, “I know of no evil legislation written in explicitly evil language.”[3] Or as Voltaire puts it, “there is no aggressor who does not color his crime with the pretext of justice.”[4] Thus, tyranny becomes known or implied through the “evincing of a design,” or in other words, based upon an objective standard of actions and effects.

Citing the preamble to a constitution written 250 years ago to determine whether or not a current government has good faith so as to determine whether or not said government is tyrannous defies common sense, human nature, history and experience. To the contrary, the effected and applicable body-politic unilaterally determines intent from an objective standard based upon the limitations placed upon government by God and the body-politic. The people are to be the natural guardians[5] of their own liberty, which necessarily means that they must know when authority is usurped and tyranny is present, words in a constitution notwithstanding.

The Declaration of Independence confirms the objective standard of determination: “[t]hat whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,” good faith notwithstanding. A government’s becoming destructive to the ends of society and government may be accomplished regardless of purported good faith from the government. Chris Wyvill reflects the Declaration’s sentiment in his defense of the colonies’ secession, “The Secession From Parliament Vindicated,” where he declares that such a determination of tyranny and the necessity of secession is made by the body-politic: “the PEOPLE are the UMPIRE…and [secession] may be absolutely necessary, as the only possibly Preventive of Ruin.”

Moreover, where government steps beyond its powers and authority, there is in fact a PRESUMPTION of tyranny and the people may act accordingly. John Locke confirms this understanding and states that where government steps beyond its authority (i.e. beyond the law), it creates an act of war against that people, “good intention” notwithstanding:

“[H]e who would get me into his power without my consent WOULD use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom—i.e. make me a slave.”[6]

John Locke observes that tyranny is an objective observation based upon reason and calculation using one’s powers of hindsight, insight and foresight. Regardless of what a government might proclaim regarding its intent, where that government rules beyond its authority, the people can presume that such a government “would use me…destroy me…[and] make me a slave.”

Additionally, that an objective standard of tyranny is used is all the more crucial and necessary in a REPUBLIC where the government is not led by one person, but is a body of (ever-changing) representatives elected by the (ever-changing) people, wherein various forms and methods are used to institute laws and orders. History and jurists prove that in such republican forms of government, tyranny is more difficult to correct because the people may never certainly know the source of the tyranny.

The source of tyranny: monarchs are static and simple; republics are fluid and complex. Those in republics mostly feel the effects of the tyranny after authority has already been usurped. For this reason (in part), it is not incumbent upon a body-politic to know the subjective intent of individual politicians, but rather, knowing the objective standard of authority, its limitations and the purpose of government is required.

In 1776, Great Britain in fact declared itself to be acting in good faith on behalf of the colonies. Great Britain expended monies to defend, administrate and grow the colonies. Great Britain provided them with commercial, governmental, societal and military benefits. Great Britain claimed to act according to the terms of their benevolent constitution (which all of the colonies openly considered to be the best in the world); and in fact, perhaps they were, as Parliament had the plenary power to create laws on behalf of Great Britain and its colonies. In fact, many colonists believed that Great Britain possessed good faith and thought seceding from Great Britain was idiocy. So, Great Britain arguably met the subjective standard of “good faith” and “good intent.”

However, the colonies ultimately realized differently and made a unilateral determination for themselves to the contrary. After feeling the compulsion to self-govern, each colony determined that the only effective method for accomplishing that was to sever the authority Great Britain had over them, just as John Locke determines is the only method against a government that has usurped authority, becoming tyrannous:

“TO BE FREE FROM SUCH FORCE is the only security of my preservation, and reason bids me look on him as an enemy to my preservation who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it.”[7] (emphasis added)

The American ideal of self-government exalts secession as an inherent and natural remedy against corruption so that freedom may thrive. Secession for freedom’s sake is as noble an act as some perceive the formation of the union was in 1787. Secession was deemed to be a right derived from not only natural law, but also confirmed by constitutional law, despite the appearance or allegation of a perpetual, supreme and sovereign government over the colonies.

The Declaration of Independence in 1776 was the necessary tool of secession through which freedom would be maintained in America–the only possible prevention of their ruin. For this act of secession, we praise our founding generation. Yet, as constitutional principles are applied today, somehow we are supposed to reach the opposite conclusion–the conclusion that Great Britain perpetrated against the colonies–the conclusion that was rejected by our founders in 1776.

Why would one admit the right to declare independence on one hand, based upon natural law, but deny the right to secede on the other, based upon constitutional law? After all, the U.S. Constitution was based upon the principles of natural law expressed in the Declaration of Independence. The answer may not be so obvious because both secession and a declaration of independence essentially accomplish the same object: to separate a body-politic from an existing government, union or political association.

As one author notes, “[secession], it should be borne in mind, is something altogether distinct from what would be an act of revolution, which lies wholly outside of the Constitution, and does not enter into this discussion.”[8] But if the legal and practical effect is the same, why meticulously splice the right of independence from the absence of right of secession? Why would people like Alexander Hamilton disparage the idea of secession on one hand,[9] but on the other, tell the people that they have a right to dissolve the union into as many states as there are counties when the federal government becomes “tyrannical”?[10]

For those who believe that secession is allowed by natural law, but is not allowed by the constitution, are you going to join forces to attack and repel an act of secession if it is done on the basis of the U.S. Constitution and not on the basis of the Declaration of Independence? Are you going to painstakingly analyze the formalities of secession to such a degree that purpose and common sense are completely abandoned? Or are you going to give your support to a state that determines it is justified to withdraw from the union, regardless of which vehicle of secession that state chooses?

You say you love freedom and you say you love the union, but which do you support more and to which are you more loyal? Indeed, if purported “good faith” in government is all that is required to justify forcefully preventing a state from seceding based upon natural law principles, then undoubtedly, the answer to the question is self-revealing.

We must recognize today: the most foundational principles of self-government, the consent of the governed and the existence of a Higher Law founded in God confirm that separation is not only a right, but also a duty and obligation of a body-politic, when it becomes clear to that body that separation is necessary, all of the constitutional arguments and posturing in the world notwithstanding.

Therefore, the states need statesman who, like our forefathers of yesteryear, know the principles of liberty and freedom and who are able to articulate the points in the course of human affairs when it becomes necessary “to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.”[11] The states need educated, virtuous and motivated freedom-lovers willing to support politicians and leaders who love their State, who love freedom and who have the courage to resist, interpose and lead their people into the land of freedom, if necessary, through secession.

In the end, secession will be determined by the individual body-politic charged with the duty of preserving freedom for them and their posterity. Where that will lead each state will be revealed in time. So, yes, get your state ready! for “[w]e fight for freedom, not for the hope of material profit or comfort, but because every fine instinct of manhood demands that man be free…Let us be loyal in the deep sense, and let us not be afraid of being few at first.”[12]

Footnotes:

[1] John Locke and C. B. Macpherson, ed., Second Treatise of Government, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1980), 103.

[2] U.S.C., Article VI, Section 2.

[3] Walter Edward Williams, Do the Right Thing: The People’s Economist Speaks, (Standford, CA: Hoover Press, 1995), 150.

[4] Will Durant, Ph.D., The Story of Philosophy, quoting Voltaire (Garden City, NY, Garden City Publishing, 1927), 267.

[5] “[T]he people…[are] the natural guardians of the Constitution.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 16.

[6] John Locke and C. B. Macpherson, ed., Second Treatise of Government, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1980), 14–15.

[7] John Locke and C. B. Macpherson, ed., Second Treatise of Government, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1980), 15.

[8] Emory Washburn, “Can A State Secede?” (Cambridge, Dakin and Metcalf, 1865), 7.

[9] “[I]t has been contended that the same authority might repeal the law by which it was ratified. However gross a heresy it may be to maintain that a party to a compact has a right to revoke that compact, the doctrine itself has had respectable advocates.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 22.

[10] “If such presumptions can fairly be made, there ought at once to be an end of all delegated authority. The people should resolve to recall all the powers they have heretofore parted with out of their own hands, and to divide themselves into as many States as there are counties, in order that they may be able to manage their own concerns in person.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 26.

[11] Declaration of Independence

[12] Terrence McSwiney, Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 108.


Secession or Declaration of Independence? Part 4 of 5

April 19, 2010

by Timothy Baldwin

In 1776, the American colonies determined that they had a natural right to secede from Great Britain, based upon the purpose of society and government. In addition, those brilliant and courageous leaders of each colony understood the political science of when tyranny begins/freedom ends. As a result, these Higher Laws of nature provided the most effective remedy against tyranny: independence and secession.

In Chris Wyvill’s book, “The Secession From Parliament Vindicated,” he points out that the right to secession and the determination of whether tyranny existed belong to each body-politic and to them alone. He says,

“[I]t would still be necessary that the more fatal evils of the league [between Parliament and the Crown] alluded to, should be guarded against, by allowing the Minority their Power of Appeal by SECESSION. For even in the most improved state of the Constitution, it would be impossible wholly and at all times to exclude Corruption and honest Infatuation…

“In any state of the Constitution, therefore, whether pure or depraved, SECESSION MUST BE ALLOWABLE. It is the appeal of a minority…And in this case, as in that of the Royal Appeal by Dissolution, the PEOPLE are the UMPIRE to whom the Appeal is made. It is a measure consonant with the principles of the Constitution; and it may be absolutely necessary, as the only possibly Preventive of Ruin.”[1]

Reflective of the Declaration of Independence, this passage expresses the notion that people have a right to be free from tyranny. Now, the U.S. Constitution does not define tyranny, nor does it define freedom. Neither did Great Britain’s constitution in 1775 define the same. These are concepts outside the pact of the constitution and are based upon natural law. They inherently carry with them the right of a state/body-politic to govern themselves pursuant to principles of freedom and to avoid a tyrannous reign. So, what is “tyranny” and are the United States undergoing tyranny, in lesser or greater degree?

Vieira seems to suggest that the U.S. is not experiencing tyranny because, as he states, the preamble to the U.S. Constitution declares that the federal government is to provide for the common defense and general welfare and thus, as long as the federal government is trying to do that, it is not tyrannical. He states in his article:

“As [the U.S. Constitution’s] Preamble attests, the Constitution requires that the General Government ‘provide for the common defence’ and ‘promote the general Welfare’ in all of its actions—and if it tries to do so in good faith, then, by definition, those acts are not ‘tyranny’, notwithstanding that (as is almost always the case) even the most scrupulous regard for ‘the common defence’ and ‘the general Welfare’ cannot be expected to leave everyone in the country equally safe and well off.”[2]

As a way of defining tyranny, and thus, deterministically deciding whether or not the states have a basis to secede (based upon natural law), Vieira comes to his conclusion of, there is no basis, by quoting John Locke’s description of tyranny:

“Tyranny is the exercise of Power beyond Right, which no Body can have a Right to. And this is making use of Power any one has in his hands; not for the good of those, who are under it, but for his own private separate Advantage.”

Apparently, according to Vieira, as long as the government is executing laws, regulations, restrictions, mandates, etc., in the name of “doing good,” then such a regime and such acts are not tyrannous, regardless of effect. This maxim (“so long as they are intending to do good…”) is a practice and notion rejected by American jurists and bodies-politic, as reflected in the Declaration of Independence.

In addition to Vieira’s flawed definition of tyranny, I must point out the fallible implication made by Vieira regarding this conclusion, and that is: as long as the federal government has “good intent,” no state has a right to secede through the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence because the federal government’s “good intent” would deny the State’s natural right to secede as there would be “no tyranny;” and if there is no tyranny, there is no natural right to secede.

This conclusion is, once again, very dangerous to the American ideal of freedom as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, because as long as the federal government declares its “good intent,” then no matter how objectively destructive the results are from the rule of the federal government, the states are bound to stay within the union because there would be no natural right to secede.

The practical effect: if a state attempted to secede based upon the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the dissenting states and federal government simply ask the question: “does the federal government have ‘good intent/faith’?” Their answer: “Why of course the federal government has good faith!…Oh sure, things are not perfect, but we are trying to make things good for you, we promise…We even pinky swear to you.” Consequently, they would reject that a natural right existed; declare war on that seceding state; and force that state back into the union by whatever means necessary, just as Great Britain attempted to do with the seceding colonies.

But as will be seen in the next article, Vieira’s conclusions are not only wrong, but the definition of tyranny he explains is completely incorrect.

Footnotes:

[1] Christopher Wyvill, The Secession From Parliament Vindicated, 2nd edition, (York, L. Lund, Little-Stonegate, 1799), 9-11.

[2] Dr. Edwin Vieira, “Thoughts on Part Twelve of ‘A Concurring Opinion’,” NewsWithViews (April 8, 2010), found at http://www.newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin221.htm.


Secession or Declaration of Independence? Part 3 of 5

April 18, 2010

by Timothy Baldwin

Where a body-politic has declared its independence from a government or political association, the terms of the constitution creating that enslaving tie no longer apply to that body-politic and it becomes completely independent, regardless of what the constitution’s terms were. In so doing, “that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.”[1] Were it not for this natural right being actually implemented throughout history, all people on earth today would be most miserable, including those in America. And indeed, when this right is ignored, denied or disparaged, freedom diminishes in accordance with the sufferings of the people.

Some attempt to divert the natural right of secession with the alleged absurdity or inconvenience of a state’s being able to separate for just “any” reason whatsoever, as if the people of a state are too dumb to know what their happiness and safety requires or as if force is the most effective means of union, as opposed to loyalty and friendship.[2] Human nature and experience prove that people will suffer evils so long as evils are sufferable,[3] but the matter of practicality does not address its rightness or its principle. Either they do or they do not have this right, regardless of practicality. The practicality of secession is a different matter altogether, just as Woodrow Wilson observed about those secession-objectors in days gone by.[4]

The fact is, if the colonists judged their decision to declare independence on practicality, they never would have moved forward on the decision and would have remained a colony of Great Britain. Recognizing this fact makes the success of the United States all the more amazing and awesome; for in fact, there were many who perceived the superiority of their enemy’s power as indefensible: “‘See the strength of the British Empire, see our wasted state; your hope is vain.’”[5] But fatalist attitudes have never been the progenitors of freedom, but only the perpetuators of slavery. Preparation is necessary, yes; but fear is enslaving.[6]

If the individual bodies-politic do not have the right by virtue of the constitution’s legal effect, then it is pointless rhetoric to talk about natural laws or rights because the constitution would be deemed prohibitive of any and all separation from the union except as provided by the constitution itself. The title (e.g. secession, declaration of independence, etc.) of the separation would have no effect to the constitution’s prohibition of separation. The substance of the constitution would universally prohibit separation, for (as applied today) the federal government would deem the state to have waived that natural right, just as Great Britain told the colonies in 1776.

On the other hand, if the states do have the natural right of separation, even if only “under certain conditions” (as justice and freedom demanded), by means of declaring independence or otherwise, then the constitution’s supposed limitations or prohibitions upon their right to secede are non-effectual at that point. Their separation from the union would be as legally and morally certain as the colonies’ separation was in 1776. There is no need to take a case to the U.S. Supreme Court through “constitutional” process. There is no need to ask permission from three-fourths of the states. If it is a natural right, then a constitution’s supposed prohibition serves as no preventative measure, unless of course you want to argue:

“Sure, you have a natural right to secede. Go ahead and secede, but we (the non-seceding states, following the steps of Great Britain) are going to declare war on you for exercising your natural right, because secession is ‘against the constitution’. So, be ready to secede and die, pukes!”

Admitting the natural right of separation supports the conclusion that those who would prevent their move for independence do them the most egregious harm to that state.[7]

Ultimately, union through a constitution is not the Supreme Law of the Land, nor are the terms of the constitution the Supreme Law of the Land where a body-politic has separated itself from the authority of the constitution. There is a higher law than the constitution. “SELF-PRESERVATION is not only a NATURAL RIGHT, but an OBLIGATION imposed by nature, and no man can entirely and absolutely renounce it. And though he might give it up, can he be considered as having done it by his POLITICAL ENGAGEMENTS, since he entered into society only TO ESTABLISH HIS OWN SAFETY upon a more solid basis?”[8]

More fundamentally supreme than a constitution, “the SAFETY OF THE PEOPLE IS THE SUPREME LAW; and this law is agreeable to the strictest justice,–the people having UNITED IN SOCIETY ONLY WITH A VIEW TO THEIR SAFETY AND GREATER ADVANTAGE.”[9] Thus, where the laws of the constitution are used to contradict the laws of nature, the laws of nature always prevail when the state decides to separate itself from the political association causing its demise.

And so, just as the Declaration of Independence bases its separation upon the natural laws of God and rights of man (despite the existence of a constitution, despite the government’s obligation to religiously comply with that constitution and despite the procedures inherent in that constitution for redress), where a declaration is so enacted by a body-politic, a constitution’s prohibitions on that body-politic no longer apply (assuming for argument’s sake that a constitution did in fact prohibit separation).

Thus, even in the days of our forefathers, where monarchies were allegedly perpetual through succession (c.p. “perpetual unions”), our enlightened forefathers rejected that principle of perpetual government and reign over the people and rather accepted the maxims of self-government, consent of the governed and right to separate:

“[I]f the nation plainly perceives that the heir of her [the nation’s] prince would be a pernicious sovereign, she [the nation] has a RIGHT TO EXCLUDE HIM. The authors whom we oppose grant this right [of succession] to a despotic prince, while they refuse it to nations. This is because they consider such a prince as a real proprietor of the empire, and will not acknowledge that the CARE OF THEIR OWN SAFETY, AND THE RIGHT TO GOVERN THEMSELVES, STILL ESSENTIALLY BELONG TO THE SOCIETY, although they have intrusted them, without any express reserve, to a monarch and his heirs.”[10]

To Vattel, this is “a maxim injurious to human nature, and which they would not have dared to advance in an enlightened age.”[11] This same injurious maxim the colonies rejected, despite Great Britain’s claim that the colonies did not have the right to secede based upon constitutional construction.

In “The Secession From Parliament Vindicated,” author Chris Wyvill makes observations concerning the colonies’ right to secede from Great Britain in 1776:

“In [Great Britain’s] estimation, Secession is always a dereliction of Public Duty; it is alike inconsistent with the principles of the Constitution, and injurious to the welfare of the Community.”[12] (Sounds familiar.)

Wyvill describes the Declaration of Independence as act of SECESSION, for indeed it was. He further points out Great Britain’s argument against secession: that secession violates the “principles of the Constitution.”[13] Apparently, the arguments against secession and separation have not changed in 250 years–more like thousands of years. The difference between the positions: the British government was preserving the status quo of their own power and prestige, and the colonies were rejecting the government’s authority and immediately obtaining freedom for themselves and their posterity. There was only one way to obtain freedom, constitutional posturing notwithstanding: secession and independence.

Footnotes:

[1] Declaration of Independence

[2] “Unity [is] not of government, but of brotherhood.” Terrence McSwiney, Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 42.

[3] “[A]ll experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” Declaration of Independence

[4] “Those who worked the theory [of secession] out to its logical consequence described the sovereignty of the federal government as merely an emanation from the sovereignty of the States. Even those public men who loved the Union most, yielded theoretical assent to the opinion that a State might legally withdraw from the government at her option, and had only practical and patriotic objections to urge.” Woodrow Wilson, Disunion and Reunion, 1829-1909, Ed. Albert Hart, (Longman’s, Green and Co., (Chicago, IL, 1918), 45-46 (emphasis added).

[5] Terrence McSwiney, Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 18.

[6] “The fear of despotic governments naturally arises of itself amidst threats and punishments.” Charles de Baron Montesquieu and Julian Hawthorne, ed., The Spirit of Laws: The World’s Great Classics, vol. 1 (London: The London Press), 34. “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” –Thomas Jefferson.

[7] “In all cases…in which a nation has the right of judging what her duty requires, no other nation can compel her to act in such or such particular manner: for any attempt at such compulsion would be an infringement on the liberty of nations.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 74.

[8] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 111.

[9] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 114.

[10] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 115.

[11] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 115.

[12] Christopher Wyvill, The Secession From Parliament Vindicated, 2nd edition, (York, L. Lund, Little-Stonegate, 1799), 6.

[13] Such a “constitutional” argument against secession reminds me of those philosophers who are able to prove anything and everything, but who believe nothing–except maybe their own power.


Secession or Declaration of Independence? Part 2 of 5

April 17, 2010

by Timothy Baldwin

Human nature and the nature of freedom demand the right of secession and independence. For centuries, western-world jurists and philosophers discussed these principles of independence thoroughly, which equipped our founding generation for the critical stages of our history: 1776, 1781, 1783 and 1787. Without their enlightened and studied work, the United States, as we KNEW it, would not have existed.

Important to the understanding of unions, political associations, governments and society itself, Emer De Vattel (one of the most well-known and recognized authoritative jurists) describes the purpose of each dynamic relative to an individual:

“For political or civil society being entered into only with a view of facilitating to each of its members the means of supporting himself, and of living in happiness and safety, it would be absurd to pretend that a member, whom it cannot furnish with such things as are most necessary, has not a RIGHT TO LEAVE IT.”[1]

Samuel Pufendorf (whom Vattel recognizes as an authority on the matter) admits similarly: “Nature has not bidden us to cultivate societies with the purpose of neglecting the care of ourselves.”[2] This end and purpose of our happiness and safety is never surrendered regardless of political and civil association or compact, but rather, it is “expressly established by God Himself.”[3]

Vattel further explains the same in context of a political association of nations (i.e. compacts of nations, treaties, etc.) and the eternal and universal right of separation to procure one’s own safety:

“[A weaker nation uses] the natural right common to all men [to dissolve its compact with the stronger nation], by which every one is permitted to endeavour to procure his own safety when he is abandoned by those who are obligated to grant him assistance.”[4]

On the same principle of unilateral separation from political associations to secure a body-politic’s happiness and safety, Vattel additionally points out,

“if the more powerful nation should assume a greater authority over the weaker one than the treat of protection or submission allows, the latter may consider the treaty as broken, and PROVIDE FOR ITS SAFETY ACCORDING TO ITS OWN DISCRETION. If it were otherwise, the inferior nation would lose by convention which it had only formed with a view to its safety; and if it were still bound by its engagements when its protector abuses them and openly violates his own, the treaty would, to the weaker party, prove a downright deception.”[5]

In such a case, the stronger nation “loses all the rights it had acquired by the convention, and that the other, being disengaged from the obligation it had contracted, re-enters into the possession of all its rights, and RECOVERS ITS INDEPENDENCE, or its liberty.”[6] As a note of observation, in the United States, there is no such thing as a “weaker state”: each state is deemed equal in importance, glory and independence. In fact, the federal government is not even a “state” of itself as each State in the union is; thus, the federal government does not even qualify as a “stronger” anything.[7] If the federal government disappeared tomorrow, no state would have perished. No people would have been eliminated. No territory would have been conquered.

Moreover, Vattel observes that the spirit of independence has created some of the greatest and freest states/nations throughout world history (the United States of course being a prime example):

“[T]his high attribute of sovereignty [held in a monarch] is no reason why the nation should not curb an insupportable tyrant, pronounce sentence upon him…and WITHDRAW ITSELF from his obedience. To this indisputable right [of the people,] a powerful republic owes its birth…As soon as a prince attacks the constitution of the state, he breaks the contract which bound the people to him: the PEOPLE BECOME FREE by the act of the sovereign, and can no longer view him but as an usurper who would load them with oppression.”[8]

To the contrary, the spirit of absolute obligation and “perpetual” governments has created some of the most tyrannical states. Thus, to counter the arguments that the “supreme law of the land” (i.e. the sovereign prince) cannot be resisted and that said supreme sovereign possesses the people’s (allegedly-surrendered) power of separation, Vattel states:

“They say that an absolute sovereign completely possesses all the political authority of the society, which nobody can oppose…We might be content with answering, that in this light there is not any sovereign who is completely and fully absolute. But in order to remove all these vain subtleties, LET US REMEMBER THE ESSENTIAL END OF SOCIETY…

“Could the society make such use of its authority, as irrevocably to surrender itself and all its members to the discretion of a cruel tyrant?…No…When therefore it [the people] confers the supreme and absolute government, without an express reserve, it is necessarily with the TACIT RESERVE THAT THE SOVEREIGN SHALL USE IT FOR THE SAFETY OF THE PEOPLE, AND NOT FOR THEIR RUIN.”[9]

Rights, independence, liberty and freedom do not come from a constitution. They come from God. In the same vein and on the same principle, a constitution cannot strip bodies-politic of their natural right of separation, which right exists inherently by virtue of the state’s existence: they are proportionately and intrinsically linked.[10]

Throughout the political writings of jurisprudence which shaped and founded American ideology, it was recognized as a fundamental maxim that secession is retained by the people. This was considered true even in cases where the people supposedly granted supreme and sovereign power to the prince of an empire. These natural “right[s of separation are] derived from what is the object of all political society,–the SAFETY OF THE NATION…IS THE SUPREME LAW.”[11]

In truth, the Supreme Law of the Land foundationally is not a constitution, but rather is the freedom and rights of the people granted by God, so that those people may pursue their own happiness and safety. Constitutions bind governments, but may be removed, altered or amended by bodies-politic for their happiness and safety, and in fact, the Declaration provides us with a pertinent illustration of the practical means of accomplishing that end: secession.

Some propose today that the PEOPLE are bound by the constitution, but the government is, in all practicality, not. The people are supposed to jump through the hoops of politics and “democratic process” decade after decade to effect change (presumably for their posterity, because it certainly is not for their own generation), hoping to accomplish what the government is supposed to be doing automatically in compliance with their oath: faithfully staying within their bounds.

Consequently, the minority of bodies-politic in America that may desire an actual effective method of obtaining freedom stay chained to the tyranny of this bully government (which does not even possess the attributes of a real State) because the constitution (which the bully does not follow nor has for generations) supposedly says so. To this end, the constitution is used against the people and in favor of the tyrant.[12]

Constitutions are designed to secure the individual’s and body-politic’s freedom and right to pursue happiness, but in no wise is the constitution to stand above or in the way of the freedom it was designed to protect or to perpetuate corrupted and degenerate governments. On this ground, secession and independence have been declared as a fundamental right by bodies-politic throughout human history, to their glory and praise.[13] As we have learned most assuredly in America, “[w]hen men revolt against an established evil it is their loyalty to the outraged truth we honor.”[14]

Footnotes:

[1] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 223.

[2] Samuel Pufendorf, Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, Book 2, Observation 3 (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2009), 319.

[3] Samuel Pufendorf, Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, Book 2, Observation 3 (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2009), 326.

[4] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 209.

[5] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 209-210.

[6] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 208.

[7] The federal government: has no territory, other than Washington D.C.; existed only as a creation of the people of the States; can be completely destroyed by the expressed terms of the Constitution; has no autonomous existence outside of what each state grants to it through its independent politic sovereign power.

[8] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 104.

[9] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 105.

[10] “Everything, in so far as it is in itself, endeavors to persist in its own being; and the endeavor wherewith a thing seeks to persist in its own being is nothing else than the actual essence of that thing.” Will Durant, Ph.D., The Story of Philosophy, quoting Baruch Spinoza (Garden City, NY, Garden City Publishing, 1927), 195.

[11] Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 108.

[12] “The constitution…[is] a security for the liberty of the citizens. But this constitution is a vain phantom, and the best laws are useless, if they be not religiously observed.” Vattel, Law of Nations, at 93.

[13] “[Good men of years past] were not builders, but overthrowers of government: their business was to set up aristocratical, democratical, or mixed governments, in opposition to that monarchy, which, by the immutable laws of God and nature, is imposed upon mankind…[T]hey were rebellious and disobedient sons, who rose up against their father; and not only refused to hearken to his voice, but made him bend to their will.” Algernon Sidney, On Discourses of Government, Vol 1 of 3, (Deare and Andrews, reprinted in 1805), 310.

[14] Terrence McSwiney, The Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 99.


Secession or Declaration of Independence? Part 1 of 5

April 16, 2010

by Timothy Baldwin

Dr. Edwin Vieira has released his (presumably) final responses (“Thoughts On ‘A Concurring Opinion’”) to my responding articles (“A Concurring Opinion For Secession”) to his original articles (“A Dissenting Opinion On Secession”). While I was hesitant to respond at all to Vieira’s articles, and as I shall forego directly responding to what I believe are incorrect insinuations, commentaries and conclusions, I must observe and highlight a very important matter relative to a state’s right and duty to free itself from tyranny. For in truth, Vieira admits to the precise conclusion that a State does have a natural right to separate itself from a political tie.[1]

As Vieira recognizes in his articles, there may be circumstances that justify (expressing the notion of right) a state (i.e. body-politic) from separating itself from the U.S. Constitution and thus, the union itself. The ground for this justification, Vieira says, does not come from the U.S. Constitution, but rather, comes from the principles[2] as delineated in the Declaration of Independence.[3]

Specifically put, the Declaration of Independence appeals not to a constitution for a basis, or a justification, of secession–even though a constitution existed at that time–but to the Supreme Judge of the world and to the natural laws God created. Given the supreme nature of this right of secession, a different body-politic at a different time in human affairs has the same inherent right as did the colonies in 1776. Vieira observes,

“‘Secession’ as most ‘secessionists’ define that term cannot be justified under the Constitution. It can be justified in principle under the Declaration of Independence, but only when the conditions precedent required by the Declaration of Independence obtain. And even then it can be justified in practice only if a “seceding” State is fully prepared, before she “secedes”, to deal with all of the political, economic, and social consequences of her action.”[4]

Despite Vieira’s conclusion that the U.S. Constitution does not allow a state to unilaterally secede,[5] his statement admits that a State would be justified, that is, would have the right, to declare independence (i.e. separate, withdraw, secede, disassociate, sever, etc.) when the circumstances are present. Of course, these circumstances can only be determined and executed by the separating state, just as the Declaration of Independence demonstrates.

In truth, any person who believes in the fundamental concepts of God-given or natural freedom, liberty and rights must acknowledge that the States’ and union’s political existence was birthed in the rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which admits the right of bodies-politic to throw off a government that is deemed to be destructive to the ends for which governments exists, a “perpetual” union or government notwithstanding.[6]

As a consequence of this unilateral right of separation and independence, it naturally follows that a declaration of independence is subject to no human court or appeal.[7] Rather, that body-politic declares independence by “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of [their] intentions.”[8] This appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world rests in the philosophical and moral conclusion that no man or group of men; no government or group of governments; no political association or group of political associations have the right or power to violate the Laws of Nature relative to the essential purposes of society and government,[9] such that where “government becomes destructive to 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.”[10]

To this end, only the applicable body-politic can effect their own happiness; and indeed, it is their duty and obligation to provide as such. This duty to procure one’s own happiness is self-responsibility and –accountability. When grievances exist within a state, the body-politic has the obligation to ensure the remedy. Indeed, if proving the mere truth and justice of a claim for freedom were sufficient, and reason provided the force of justice, there would be little tyranny in the world, but history proves that a tyrannical power is deaf to the appeal of truth and reason. Consequently, these bodies-politic are answerable only to themselves and to God when it comes to matters of union and separation for freedom’s sake.

Despite Vieira’s statement that the purposes a body-politic’s entering into a political union are inconsequential relative to its right to withdraw from that union, the opposite is true: the PURPOSE of its entering a political association, union, treaty or forming a government is most crucial to its remaining therein. On the most basic level, purpose is the most essential and fundamental motion and drive for a body-politic to form government or enter into unions.

Constitutions are created for a purpose. Governments are established for a purpose. Men are created by God for a purpose. Laws are created by God and man for a purpose. Men enter into society for a purpose. Everything in existence is for a purpose. To remove purpose from the equation of constitutional and philosophical analysis is to create a mindless and enslaving union and government system.[11] Purpose most certainly matters and is critical in the analysis of separation verses union.

When the purpose of a particular union is destroyed, the union has a most absurd existence–an existence which history proves is founded mostly upon the force by tyrants or the people’s fear of them, and not upon the bonds of friendship and loyalty.[12] To perpetuate the absurdity is doubly absurd. Thus, there may be a time in the course of human events where that body-politic declares, after “reflection and choice,”[13] that it is “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,”[14] because the purpose of its remaining in that political association no longer exists.

Moreover, the purpose for entering a union may in fact be the same purpose for its separating from a union: that is, to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If the body-politic be praised for entering a union to secure freedom, based upon certain purposes, its posterity will sing its praises for separating from a union where remaining in the union is detrimental to those purposes.

Read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Footnotes

[1] Note: I disagree with Vieira concerning when a State’s natural right would be invoked, particularly in Vieira’s description of what constitutes “tyranny.” See articles 4 and 5 in this series for further discussion.

[2] “[P]rinciples will rule the future as they have ruled the past.” Terrence McSwiney, Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 92.

[3] Note: Vieira applies the “principles of the Declaration of Independence” differently than this author, as Vieira concludes that as long as the government has “good faith,” then no tyranny exists. This author disagrees. For further discussion, see article 5 of 5.

[4] Dr. Edwin Vieira, “Thoughts on Part Twelve of ‘A Concurring Opinion’,” NewsWithViews (April 8, 2010), found at http://www.newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin221.htm. (Emphasis added). I disagree with Vieira concerning the “conditions” placed upon a state to practically declare independence; namely: “only if” the state is “fully prepared” “before” secession, etc. The Declaration of Independence made no such remarks of condition, nor was this the case in 1776 when the colonies declared independence. Additionally, who makes the determination of whether or not the state meets all these conditions? The federal government? Three-fourths of the states? The U.S. Supreme Court? If the answer is, the seceding state, then it is superfluous to add any conditions on secession when the sole judge for determining if those conditions have been met rests with the seceding state. See Also, “No nation is willing to renounce her liberty: she will rather break off all commerce with those states that should attempt to infringe upon it.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 74.

[5] Compare, “Secession…is perfectly defensible on the principles of the constitution.” Christopher Wyvill, The Secession From Parliament Vindicated, 2nd edition, (York, L. Lund, Little-Stonegate, 1799), 14.

[6] “They may quit a society which seems to have dissolved itself in order to unite again under another form.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 95.

[7] “[I]t belongs to the nation [or state] alone to judge and determine [disputes regarding fundamental laws, the public administration, or the rights of the different powers of which it is composed] conformably to its political constitution.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 96.

[8] Declaration of Independence

[9] “Happiness…is the great end of the law of nature. [It is the duty of a body-politic] to seek…their own perfection.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 145. “Society is established with the view of procuring…the necessaries, conveniences, and even pleasures of life, and, in general, every thing necessary to their happiness,–of enabling each individual peaceably to enjoy his own property, and to obtain justice with safety and certainty,–and, finally, of defending themselves in a body against all external violence.” Ibid., at 126. “It is evident that men form a political society, and submit to laws, solely for their own advantage and safety.” Ibid., at 97.

[10] Declaration of Independence

[11] “Let us leave a hatred of the sciences to the despotic tyrants of the east: they are afraid of having their people instructed, because they chuse to rule over slaves. Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 145.

[12] “[T]hose who lay the first foundations, as it were, of states, are most of them united to one another in mutual benevolence.” Samuel Pufendorf, Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, Book 2, Observation 3 (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2009), 320 (emphasis added). See Also, “Nothing but a genuine bond of brotherhood can so unite men.” Terrence McSwiney, Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 44 (emphasis added).

[13] “[We are called upon to decide whether] societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 1 (emphasis added).

[14] Declaration of Independence


If It Quacks Like a Duck…

April 15, 2010

If It Quacks Like a Duck…

And if it waddles like a duck…
And if it has feathers like a duck…
And if it has webbed feet and a bill…
And if it swims like a duck…
Chances are pretty good that it’s a duck.

Texans got a good look at the ducks in Austin last Saturday. The Austin ducks look just like the ducks in DC. And, just like when ducks fly in formation, the Austin ducks are flying in formation behind the Washington lead duck.

Last weekend, some of the political leaders of Texas showed their feathers and finally took a stand about Texas independence. Sadly, the stand they took was to side with Washington and against Texas sovereignty and independence.

Do you remember my article Will Austin Become Liberty Central or Little Washington? In light of this news story, you can be assured that Austin is Little Washington, filled with power-thirsty, grasping politicians…and perhaps one or two patriots hiding in the shadows.

There are a plethora of activist organizations in Texas, just like in most other states. The Texas Nationalist Movement, the Tenth Amendment guys, the Tea Parties, the Article V group, and Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty are just a few. Last Saturday, all of the groups concerned with liberty got their reality check from AG Greg Abbott.

Cary Wise is the Membership Director of the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM). Cary served in the US Air Force, and was a Michigan State Trooper, even though he is a son of Texas. Cary is now a businessman living near Hondo, Texas. He is one of my closest friends.

On Saturday, April 3rd, Cary was in Austin representing the TNM, and attended a meeting with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and members of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a group of 49 state representatives and state senators. Abbott confirmed that his office had joined other states to file a civil lawsuit against Washington in regard to the new Health Care bill. In that meeting, the AG stated plainly that the Governor would not call a special legislative session to address Tenth Amendment issues or state sovereignty. Abbott said the special session would be “too expensive.”

Cary asked specifically what Texans were supposed to do as the laws and regulations, such as Cap & Trade, Health Care, EPA regulations etc., were imposed upon Texans while they wait for the lawsuit to drag through the Federal Courts.

Abbott sat completely silent, and would offer no answer. None of the very uncomfortable Coalition members offered an answer either. Cary reported that the audience, numbering in the hundreds, was completely stunned at Abbott’s pronouncements, as well his subsequent unwillingness to reply to direct questions. Wise also reported that after the meeting, the politicians hastily moved to the exits to get away from the now-angry crowd.

Ladies and gentlemen, the political leaders in Austin will offer only token resistance to the tyranny flowing from Washington…the kind of facile posturing that doesn’t really cost them anything. They will file their suit against Washington in regard to the Health Care law, and use their ineffectual action as political cover to show voters that they are “fighting Washington.”

So, Texans, you now know that the Governor, the Attorney General and the Republicans (who should be most friendly to liberty) in Austin won’t help you. What will you do now?

Your only choice is to make secession a groundswell demand from the general populace of Texas. That sounds like a county-by-county effort to get county judges to agree to place the independence initiative on a referendum so that it may receive an up or down vote on its merits.

Got any better ideas?

I invite you to re-read my article Who Will Be The New Founding Fathers?

Texans, frankly tell your politicians, “Texas secession is going to happen with you, or without you.” You MUST make the elected officials pay a price for their actions against Texas independence. That does not mean violent opposition, but strong political action. Politicians will not respect you until they fear you.

And, finally, Texans, you must take the long view. Your efforts for independence and sovereignty may not happen in your lifetime. Remember, all politics is force, and force only yields to superior force. But it may take a while to overcome the centralized power in Austin.

My recommendation is to take a page from the book on branding cattle. A cowboy will separate one steer from the rest of the herd, rope him and bring him down. Then the branding iron is applied. In the same manner, conquer the Austin legislature person by person. Cull one Representative or Senator from the herd. Either get him to commit to your cause, or run a strong Texas Independence candidate against him in the next election.

But that requires a concerted effort, guerrilla political tactics and a bunch of money.

I call on all so-called “Patriot groups” operating in Texas to join together to storm the Texas Legislature about Texas Independence.

Secession is the hope for humanity. Will Texas be first?

La secesión es la única esperanza para la humanidad. ¿Quién será el primero?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Hawai’i Independence: Get The TRUE Story

April 14, 2010

“Oh, honest Americans, as Christians hear me for my downtrodden people! Their form of government is as dear to them as yours is as precious to you. Quite warmly as you love your country, so they love theirs. With all your goodly possessions, covering a territory so immense that there yet remain parts unexplored, possessing islands that, although new at hand, had to be neutral ground in time of war, do not covet the little vineyard of Naboth’s, so far from your shores, lest the punishment of Ahab fall upon you, if not in your day, in that of your children, for “be not deceived, God is not mocked.” The people to whom your fathers told of the living God, and taught to call “Father,” and now whom the sons now seek to despoil and destroy, are crying aloud to Him in their time of trouble; and He will keep His promise, and will listen to the voices of His Hawaiian children lamenting for their homes.”
– Lili`uokalani, Last Queen of Hawai`i

I’ve said many times that Hawai’i is one of the “states” of the Union that has a better-than-average chance of seceding from the Union.

Have you ever heard the story…the REAL story…of how the United States absorbed Hawai’i? I promise that you have not heard this story if you have been educated in any American public school since 1959.

The US Federal government stole Hawai’i in 1959. Hawai’i had been an American colony since 1893 when the US military and American fruitgrowers overthrew the Hawai’ian monarchy and occupied the country. The DC criminals simply made it official in 1959. In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed Public Law 103-150, the “Apology Resolution,” which formally apologized for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, and recognized the unrelinquished inherent sovereignty and right of self-determination of the Native Hawaiian people.

Bill Clinton signing Law 103-150 with Al Gore and Hawaiian sell-out Sen. Daniel Inouye and others as witnesses.

The DC criminals may have apologized, but they didn’t give anything back.

Watch this short presentation on Hawai’ian history:

Visit the Hawai’i independence website at: http://FreeHawaii.info

Secession is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2009, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


The Real Nature of Politics and Politicians

April 13, 2010

or America’s System Works, But Not the Way You Think!

By Mike Rothfeld

(Editor’s Note: I met Mike at the Campaign For Liberty convention in Atlanta in January 2010. This guy is a take-no-prisoners guerrilla fighter. If you see Mike in person giving a speech, you’ll either love him or hate him. I loved his speech.)

Few of the lectures I give on political technology and campaigning make people as agitated as this one.

None is more important.

Simply put, politics is not about the common good, appealing to men’s better angels, nor serving our Lord. These may be your motivations. I pray they are mine. Occasionally, they will be a politician’s motivation.

Politics is the adjudication of power. It is the process by which people everywhere determine who rules whom.

In America, through a brilliant system of rewards and punishments, checks and balances, and diffusion of authority, we have acquired a habit and history of politics mostly without violence and excessive corruption.

The good news for you and me is that the system works.

The bad news is it is hard, and sometimes unpleasant work, for us to succeed in enacting policy.

There is absolutely no reason for you to spend your time, talent, and money in politics except for this: If you do not, laws will be written and regulations enforced by folks with little or no interest in your well-being.

The following pages may challenge everything you thought you knew about politics, and everything you have been told about politics from your high school civics teacher to the lead editorial writer in your local paper to the politics “expert” at a respected organization.

But if you read carefully and understand, you will become capable of leading a successful fight for your values.

Politicians, Not Education and Not Public Opinion, Make Policy

The first mistake most folks make when they set out on a good-faith crusade to do good is to completely misunderstand their targets.

Sometimes, activists make the local newspaper or media the target. The thinking goes, “If we can just get them to understand the problem, things will change.” It is fortunate that this is not correct, because the media in the U.S. is overwhelmingly committed to big government, gun control, and the supremacy of state-controlled education over parent controlled education.

The fact is newspapers cast no votes. The national evening news controls no elections. If this were not true, Ronald Reagan would never have been President.

An even more common mistake is to believe that the key to victory is education.

The “education is the key to political victory” theory claims that if we educate people as to the problem and the solution, then the elected officials will fall in line.

Wrong.

Polls show huge majorities of Americans in favor of parental notification before a minor has an abortion. Yet the mere mention of the issue drives most politicians into fits of terror. Similarly, three-quarters of the American people oppose forced-unionism and favor Right to Work laws; however, such laws exist in only 22 states.

It is important to understand the two reasons why the education theory of politics is a mistake.

First, the theory assumes no opposing “education” effort. This is rarely the case.

Polls showed a majority in California favored education choice, yet the 1992 School Voucher Referendum lost 2-1 on election day. Why? Because the NEA-teachers’ union bosses and pro-government-school-monopoly forces out-organized school choice forces, had a more focused message, and spent a lot more money.

The second, and more important, reason the “education is the key” theory fails lies in the nature of politics and politicians.

Policy in the Margins or Why Grass-Roots Politics Works

What follows is a generalized breakdown of voting in any given election:

People Percentage  for Victory
100%, all people

70% eligible to vote (excludes aliens, felons, minors)

40% registered to vote (approximately 60% of eligible)

20% vote on election day (50% of registered voters)

7% almost always vote Republican
7% almost always vote Democrat

6% swing votes

50%, plus 1

35%, plus 1

20%, plus 1

10%, plus 1

3%, plus 1

Three percent of the populations plus one voter. Here is where politicians live and die.

In some local and state elections where turnout may be only 20 percent of registered voters, the margin may be far less than three percent plus one.

The average politician lives in constant fear of alienating any substantial portion of this three percent plus one voter he needs in a hotly contested race to win re-election, or to gain higher office.

What is the best way not to alienate these voters? Do nothing to make them mad, which almost always means … do nothing.

This is why even when new politicians are elected, little seems to change. Inertia — or the status quo — is the most potent force in politics.

However, by mobilizing and directing voters rallying around a specific issue, you can change the political environment for a politician or even a group of politicians. One relatively small group can make it more costly for the politician not to act than it is for him or her to act as you want him to.

This is what I mean when I say that policy is made at the margins. Over time, the number and effectiveness of activists determines political success or failure.

This is also why the homosexual lobby, labor unions, and organized groups so often get legislation they want. They have groups of voters who can, and will, vote on their issue alone. And they often have workers and sometimes money to use against any politician who crosses them.

By becoming a grass-roots leader, you can, too.

That’s where the fun, and the danger, begins.

How Politicians React to Pressure

In a better world, you would mobilize, the politicians would immediately agree to do everything you want, the policy would be changed, and we would all live happily ever after.

Of course, it rarely happens that way.

When a provision harmful to home-schooling parents was located in the 1994 Education Bill (H.R.6), Mike Farris’ Home School Legal Defense Association directed some one million calls and letters to Congress in a three-week period. The amendment to strip out the offending language passed the U.S. House of Representatives 434-1. Another amendment by Representative Dick Armey (R-TX) to positively protect home schoolers passed 374-53.

It was a rout.

The rout occurred not just because the home schooling community was so mobilized (though they were) but because they were mobilized for a very specific purpose, to which there was virtually no organized opposition.

It was an easy decision for members of the House of Representatives.

This is not the case for most controversial issues. It is certainly not true for any legislation relating to the right to keep and bear arms or abortion or right to work.

So how will a politician react to your organized pressure when he knows there is or is certain to be, organized pressure against your position?

The first thing the politician will do is try to make you go away without giving you anything of substance. If he gives you anything of substance, then those organized on the other side will be mad.

So most politicians will try to make you quit by intimidation, explanation, or buying you off.

Many politicians — especially those used to being treated like royalty rather than public servants — may try to threaten and intimidate. Statements such as, “If you ever try something like this again, I’ll vote against you for sure,” or “I’ll tell the newspaper you’re a trouble-maker” are not uncommon. A rudely spoken, “I don’t know who you think you are, but that’s not how we do things here, and no one will work with you again” followed by a slammed-down phone receiver is another favorite.

Remember, you are not running for office. The politician is. Then remember the three percent plus one voter margin, and double your efforts to mobilize.

Before long, even this politician will go to a new tactic.

Most likely, a politician (whether or not intimidation is attempted) will seek to placate you by “explaining” what he or she calls “the political reality.” Sometimes the explanation may be made by a surrogate for the politician; a member of his staff, a lobbyist or even, in many cases, a well-known advocate for your issue.

The message usually takes the basic form of, “I’ve been doing this for a long time and believe me, I share your concerns but we just can’t pass that bill right now,” or “even if we could pass what your people want, the Governor (or President or a judge) will kill it,” or “It’s the best we could do,” or simply “We’ll lose.”

First of all, so what? Rome was not built in a day, nor is major policy passed overnight. Sometimes it may take years. But policy will never change if politicians never vote on it.

Policy is changed one vote — one politician — at a time.

Second of all, the reason this is often true is that politicians succeed in ducking difficult votes, thus preventing voters from ever knowing exactly where they stand.

Your job as a grassroots leader is to convey to the politician your supporters’ insistence on his or her personal, public and on-the-record support for your position.

Of course, you do want to pass your legislation (or defeat your opponent’s legislation), but first and foremost, you want the politician’s complete public support. As an aside, a commitment in writing is better than a verbal commitment, and a vote on the most controversial piece of the bill (not necessarily final passage) is better than a written commitment.

Private promises are worthless.

When you have insisted on the politician’s support for your position, they will then try to buy you off. Here is where the best grass-roots leaders fail.

<b>Power and Access and Selling Out</b>

Politics can be seductive.

The chance to rub elbows with elected officials, being looked up to by people in your community as someone in the know, invitations to and recognition at special events, being quoted in the media, helping to write “acceptable” compromise language, an appointment to some committee or task force, or even a paid job in the politician’s office or campaign — all this could be yours if you become a grassroots leader. These are the trinkets for which leaders sell out their political agenda.

Of course, most everyone thinks he is strong enough, smart enough, and committed enough not to sell out. Few people are.

Before long, instead of delivering to the politician the grassroots’ message to pass or defeat specific legislation, you become the politician’s representative, telling grass-roots activists what they must settle for.

Right now, today, decide whether you want access or power.

Access is calling a politician and having him take your call. He listens to what you want, and may or may not do it. It is what most grassroots leaders end up settling for. This is the way most non-controversial (e.g. business accounting before Enron) and high-interest versus low-opposition (e.g. farm subsidies) political business is done.

Power is the ability to tell a politician what you want, and either get it or deliver substantial pain (maybe even get a new politician) at the next election. This is the ONLY way ideological, controversial legislation can be passed or defeated (e.g. abortion, guns or homosexual special rights).

Again, I urge you to remember the three percent plus one voter.

You and your grassroots group may be able to single-handedly bring the politician down. Or perhaps you will be one of a handful of groups organizing at the next election.

No matter what, you will make it harder for the politician to win re-election, costing him extra time and money.

If the politician loses, every other elected official will fear you and your group.

If the politician wins, he (and other politicians) will remember the extra pain you caused him. And he will know you may do it again or worse. When you return to continue fighting for what you believe in, you will find him and his colleagues more willing … and surprisingly, sometimes more gracious (though do not count on the latter; personal pleasantness is cheap coin).

As the late Everett Dirksen said, “When I feel the heat, I see the light.”

Winning in the Long Run

There is a great deal more I could tell you

** How to recruit for your grassroots organization.

** How best to communicate with politicians.

** The differences between offensive and defensive legislative strategies.

** Choosing a leader who is an elected official (Hint: Be very careful)

** When and how to use the media.

** The best ways to raise money for the short-term and the long-term.

But what I would like to close with is the importance of taking a long-term approach to fighting for your values.

If you remember from the beginning of this article, I said the good news is that the system works.

I hope by now you see what I mean. Namely, the politicians are still subservient to the people who elected them … to you and me.

However, most of the time, a fight to really make a difference may take years. This is especially true the further from local politics you get.

It’s true Mike Farris and the Home School Legal Defense Foundation won the battle for home schoolers in the U.S. Congress in just a few weeks as described above. But Mike Farris spent years building his organization of home schoolers.

More importantly, as I noted, there was little or no opposition to the mobilized home schooling force.

Since then, in fights to pass any kind of school choice — much more, a full tax credit — the results have been very different. In fact, President George W. Bush easily abandoned the conservative opposition to federalized education and passed the No Child Left Behind Act with overwhelming Republican support.

The size and effectiveness of the advocates of bigger government schools dwarfs the those of us who are committed to school choice.

When you first start out, expect not to be taken seriously; especially if you insist upon principle and refuse to compromise or to be bought off.

The key will be for you and your grassroots activists to aggressively make politicians pay a price for their failure to pay attention to their constituents (you and your group). Every year, every session of the legislature, you must return pushing for your principles. And every election, you must cause pain to as many politicians as possible; starting with those who claim to support your cause, but vote and act in opposition.

At the same time, you should be continually recruiting more members, raising more money, and expanding the areas in which you are active.

By doing this, you can win in the long run.

Mike Rothfeld is President of Saber Communications, a political consulting firm in Falmouth, Virginia. Reach him at: (540) 371-7077 or email at: mir@saberinc.net


The Ship of State: Ship of Fools

April 12, 2010

The United States of America is the 234 year-old criminal entity engaged in theft, plunder, murder, drug dealing, money laundering and counterfeiting on a worldwide scale. It is sometimes respectfully referred to as a ship of state. But the US Federal Government is a ship of fools.

The ship of fools is an allegory with a long history in Western literature and art. The allegory and artworks show a sailing vessel filled with humans who are oblivious, frivolous and demented, arguing amongst themselves, and clueless about the destination of their craft.

Ship of Fools - The USS United States

(From Wikipedia) The ship of state is a famous and oft-cited metaphor put forth by Plato in book VI of ‘’Plato’s Republic’’. It likens the governance of a city-state to the command of a naval vessel – and ultimately argues that the only men fit to be captain of this ship are philosopher kings, benevolent men with absolute power who have access to ultimate knowledge.

Plato establishes the comparison by describing the steering of a ship as just like any other “craft” or profession – in particular, that of a politician. He then runs the metaphor in reference to a particular type of government: democracy. Plato’s democracy, it is worth noting, is not the modern notion of a mix of democracy and republicanism, but rather pure rule by what he terms “the poor masses” by way of pure majority rule. Plato argues that the masses are too busy fighting over what they consider to be the right way to steer the ship to listen to a true navigator – representing his philosopher-king. Socrates, speaking for Plato, rhetorically asks “Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?” It is ultimately seen, then, that the ship of state metaphor is a cautionary tale against rule by anything other than an enlightened, benevolent monarch-of-sorts.

Wow…sounds just like the philosophy of the ruling class of the junta commonly known as “The United States of America.” The President of the United States is always held up to be a benevolent philosopher-monarch-of-sorts, enlightened far beyond the common man. (They all seem to write a book before their presidential candidacy ramps up, don’t they?) Surely with that level of superiority and enlightenment, he can lead the nation, even when the nation doesn’t want to be led. After all, he knows best. Please do not miss the sarcasm in the last sentence.

Didn’t we just witness that “lead-‘em, like it or not” philosophy in the passage of the Health Care legislation? Overwhelmingly, no matter what poll was taken, Americans did not want this bill passed. Yet, our masters passed the bill and the benevolent philosopher-king signed it into law.

The ship of state named “The United States of America” has become the ship of fools. But certainly not recently. The metamorphosis was in process from the ratification of the US Constitution, and was completed in the Lincoln Administration of the 1860s. It effects continue unabated to this day.

Ships float, regardless of the material from which they are made, because the weight of the ship and its cargo is less than the weight of the water it displaces. But a ship sinks when it weighs more than the weight of the water it displaces. That can come from overloading the ship with cargo. It also happens when the ship takes on water, either through leaks or stormy seas that wash over the ship and add water weight.

Hmmmmm…I wonder if there is a lesson here in this metaphor. How about this?

The ship of fools has taken on ever-increasing weight. The Captain (the philosopher-king) and the officers (Congressional crew) have thrown caution to the wind and have drastically increased the number of crew members (government employees). In addition, they are adding the weight of Federal debt being stored in the ship’s cargo holds. The inspectors (Federal courts) turn a blind eye and do nothing to prevent the overloading of the ship. One day soon, the ship will founder or capsize, or simply sink beneath the waves of history, never to rise again.

We poor slaves, trapped in the cargo holds of the ship like the African slaves of old, need not revolt to save ourselves. All we need to do is get into the lifeboats of secession that line the gunwales of the ship, cast off and get clear of the ship before she sinks. If we wait until the ship of fools sinks, most of the slave cargo will die in the ensuing panic of abandoning ship. Many lifeboats will never be used, and will go down with the ship.

The men and women who populate the elected and appointed positions of power and privilege in Washington DC will have sunk the USS United States. The leeches will have killed the host, but that’s the very nature of leeches…even to their own peril. (forgive my mixing metaphors)

Inevitably, secession is an individual choice. You must decide to be free. Or, in the absence of your decision, you get exactly what you deserve.

In order to make this bitter medicine go down easier, enjoy Robert Plant’s music video entitled “Ship of Fools.”

Secession is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Bob Parsons’ Sixteen Rules for Success in Business and Life in General

April 11, 2010

Bob Parsons is the founder and CEO of GoDaddy.com, the huge domain registration and website hosting company. Bob started this company in 1997 in his home and today it is a monster, with annual revenues of about $750 million.

Secessionists would do well to adopt Bob’s Rules of Success shown below.

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.

I believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone. I hear people say, “But I’m concerned about security.” My response to that is simple: “Security is for cadavers.”

2. Never give up.

Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think.

There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be.

Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of “undefined consequences.” My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, “Well, Robert, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.”

5. Focus on what you want to have happen.

Remember that old saying, “As you think, so shall you be.”

6. Take things a day at a time.

No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward.

Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of “Kaizen.” Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide.

Remember what General George S. Patton said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

9. Measure everything of significance.

I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.

If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing.

When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around.

In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you’re doing as anyone else, provided that what you’re doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair.

Life isn’t fair. You make your own breaks. You’ll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems.

You’ll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you’ll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: “You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others.” There’s also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: “A wise man keeps his own counsel.”

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There’s always a reason to smile.

Find it. After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”

Perspective and Wisdom…like Secession…are the hopes for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.