Is Secession an Act of Sedition?

April 23, 2010

Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein appeared on NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” on April 18th and stated that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck were close to committing acts of sedition.

The moronic talking heads of the Main Stream Media, like Joe Klein, just throw around incendiary words to create controversy and keep people talking about THEM. They also serve as propagandists for the government, offering up not-so-subtle hints of Federal retaliation at some future point.

Klein provided the legal definition of sedition, which is “a revolt or an incitement to revolt against established authority.” And, because sedition has been declared a felony in Supreme Court opinions. the accusation could be considered pretty serious.

Seems to me that the legal definition needs some further examination.

The legal definition of revolt is defined: “the offence consists in the endeavor of the crew of a vessel, or any one or more of them, to overthrow the legitimate authority of her commander, with intent to remove him from his command; or against his will to take possession of the vessel by assuming the government and navigation of her; or by transferring their obedience from the lawful commander to some other person.” But that definition is a maritime definition, not a government/citizen definition.

The dictionary goes on to say that “revolt and rebellion are nearly synonymous, and is the state of citizens who unjustly take up arms against the prince or government.” But that is just the opinion of the dictionary’s writers, not a legal definition.

Congress did define “sedition” in the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The Sedition Act expired on March 3, 1801, coinciding with the end of the Adams administration. Makes for interesting reading, and could have been enacted by this present paranoid Congress in 2010. It stated “That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty; and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor.”

OK, now consider the definition of the word “unjustly,” found in the dictionary’s opinion. The American Heritage Dictionary says it is “violating principles of justice or fairness.” So to unjustly take up arms against the government would require the citizens to violate principles of justice.

What’s justice? The same legal dictionary used above defines it as: 1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or system of law in which every person receives his/her/its due from the system, including all rights, both natural and legal.

No honest person with two brain cells to rub together could call our system of law any form of “justice.” No American citizens are receiving ALL their natural and legal rights from the DC system. First, no natural rights flow from DC, but from God. Second, DC is stealing legal rights from citizens at a NASCAR pace.

The various “Patriot” groups around the country who are demonstrating, rallying and advocating for nullification and interposition against the Federal Government are indeed falling under the Supreme Court’s understanding of sedition, as Pennsylvania v. Nelson defers to Pennsylvania Penal Code § 207 for its definition of “sedition,” one clause which says (c) To incite or encourage any person to commit any overt act with a view to bringing the Government of this State or of the United States into hatred or contempt.

So, the Supreme Court says sedition is mutiny, but could also be inciting others to hatred or contempt of The United States. Congress said it was effectively any resistance to any Government action.

Is the act of secession an act of sedition? No it is not. Secession does not overthrow ships, nor does it foment the UNJUST taking up of arms against government tyranny (it would be good if secession did advocate the JUST taking up of arms to resist government tyranny. That is the function of a state militia.) It does not incite hatred or contempt.

It does, however, offer the perfect method of resistance to Federal tyranny. Secession does not in any way seek to overthrow or change the present Federal government. It simply seeks to opt out…leave…bug out…quit…fire its agent…or any number of other ways to state that the state seeks sovereignty.

And, please remember Klein’s definition. “Against established authority” is the phrase he hung his hat on. But the only lawful “established authority” for the United States is the US Constitution. All of the patriot groups are demonstrating for the United States government to stay within the strict authority of the Constitution. Seems to me that the US Federal Government is the one who is committing daily acts of sedition by exceeding their Constitutional authority.

Conclusion

Secession is not sedition. Secession is ending a dysfunctional relationship peacefully by leaving the relationship. In civil family law, it’s called a divorce.

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.


Secession is Just Give and Take

April 22, 2010

There has been a lot of inane and silly talk floating around America about how states cannot secede. Edwin Vieira wrote a long dissertation about it, with lots of footnotes and other stuff that made his article look scholarly.

All poppycock, balderdash and piffle.

In the real world…the world in which you and I live…principals may hire agents to represent them. But principals also have the right to fire agents. The principal gives and the principal can also take away.

A “principal” is defined as a person or entity who authorizes another, as an agent, to represent him or her.

An “agent” is a person or entity (as an employee or independent contractor) authorized to act on behalf of and under the control of another.

If I am an actor and I hire an agent, I sign a contract in which both his and my responsibilities are stated. If he violates his terms or commits acts beyond his authority, I can fire him.

If I am an owner of real estate, and I hire someone to manage my real estate, I sign a contract in which both his and my responsibilities are stated. If he mishandles my real estate, I can fire him.

If I’m a partner in a real estate investment trust, I can both hire and fire a property manager who is managing the trust under a contract.

If I hire an attorney to represent me in a legal matter, we will agree on the terms and conditions of his representation. If he violates those terms, I can fire him.

If I am a manufacturer, and hire a manufacturer’s representative to sell my products, we will agree on the terms and conditions under which the rep will sell my goods. If he violates those terms, or mishandles my account, I can fire him.

So, by now you see that agents have no power other than that power granted to them by the principal.

In 1787, a group of men met in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to draft a Constitution. The men were delegates, appointed by the states…the sovereign nations along the Eastern Seaboard of North America. They had just won their independence from Great Britain. The states were the principals in this example. They drafted a Constitution, and the management company named “The United States of America” (USA) was formed. The USA was the agent of the states, given strictly defined powers and duties by the principals. Further, the Constitution was later amended to assure the principals that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, and to the people” (10th Amendment).

We can argue about whether or not the Constitution had or now has any authority. But one thing that is not arguable is whether principals can fire agents. And the sovereign states that are the principals here in America can and should fire “The United States of America” for gross misfeasance and malfeasance.

The states gave power to “The United States” in the late 18th Century. It is their natural right to take away any or all of that power anytime they choose. Further, because they created “The United States,” it is the right of the states to alter, abolish or simply dissolve it and start over.

So I’m confused by, and not a small amount irritated at all the Tenthers, Tea Parties and other so-called “Patriot groups” that wish to bring the “United States” back under the control of the sovereign states. The states are presently unprepared to assert that action. No state presently has their own currency, nor do they have their own state militia.

The states have neither the power nor ability to bring Washington to heel. The Congress members and Senators get their paychecks from the US Treasury, not state coffers. Congress has no incentive to bow to state demands.

In order to bring Washington DC to heel, states would have to somehow slash Federal spending while nullifying ALL Federal law affecting state citizens. At this point, I do not know of a single American state that is willing or able to perform these herculean tasks.

But do you know what act completely ends all the drama, and dissolves any and all political bands between any state and “The United States?”

The Act of Secession.

Any state can issue a Declaration of Independence TODAY.

Any state can follow that up with a formal Ordinance of Secession TOMORROW.

Result?

The seceding state severs its connection with the “United States,” subject to no power on earth other than “The Supreme Judge of the World.” Its sovereignty is the same as France, or China, or Brazil, or Russia or any other nation.

The seceding state repudiates the debt assumed by the United States. Therefore, all state citizens are likewise released from any obligation to pay the US debt or US taxes. They are no longer US citizens, and as such, owe nothing to the USA.

The seceding state repudiates all Federal regulation instantly. Imagine that!

The seceding state ceases sending ANY money of any kind to Washington.

The seceding state confiscates all Federal property inside its borders.

Friends, it is so very simple. For any state to continue as a slave state to the rogue government known as “The United States” is insane. The “United States” is the management company created by the states…a manager that has tried to convince the States that “The United States” is now the principal, rather than the hired agent.

One does not negotiate with criminals. The right path is to separate from the criminals and ignore their actions.

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.


Are The DC Criminals Really Nazis?

April 21, 2010

If you follow the photo and video images of the various “Tea Party” or anti-government public events over the past year, you’ll inevitably see some person holding a sign calling someone in Washington a Nazi or depicting a president as Hitler. Then, you’ll hear the talking heads on the Mainstream Media making fun of the protester, or trying to whip up negative sentiment against those very protesters.

Obama is Hitler

But what if the signs were correct?

The term “Nazi” derives from the first two syllables of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party). In German, the word “national” is pronounced “Naht-see-oh-nall.” Shortened to a sort of nickname, it became commonly known as the Nazi Party.

But stop right there. Is it fair to refer to the DC criminals as National Socialists? Would we be wrong if we called them Nazis? Let’s deconstruct the two words and see.

“National:” of, pertaining to, or maintained by a nation as an organized whole or independent political unit.

The people that occupy the elected and appointed positions of power in Washington DC are certainly an independent political unit. All of their actions pertain to their employer and their nation, which is the United States of America. And even though we can easily prove…simply by reading the old Constitution…that the several states NEVER intended that “The United States of America” be considered a sovereign nation…the DC criminals have an entirely different outlook on things national. They are vehemently opposed to dissolving the Union. They consider those American citizens who support secession as domestic terrorists and threats to national security.

So, the employees of The United States of America can certainly be known as “nationalists.”

Now…how about that Socialist part of the phrase?

“Socialism” is defined as:

1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

Washington doesn’t even recognize the community in its deliberations. Washington is the one that wants the ownership and control, and their procedures and practices prove their desires.

Over the past 75 years, the US Federal Government has blazed a course that tends more closely toward socialism than toward capitalism. Just look at some of the evidence:

The income tax
Social Security
Medicare/Medicaid
The Federal Reserve
Protective tariffs
All of the three-letter Federal agencies that regulate American commerce
Federal ownership of General Motors
Bank bailouts
The New Healthcare Law

So, it’s easy to see that both Democrats and Republicans over time have enacted draconian laws that control the means of production and distribution of capital, land, etc. in America.

And, let’s not forget the next initiative of the Obama Administration…Cap & Trade legislation. There is wording inside this bill that will prevent a property owner from selling his real property unless it meets Federal standards for energy compliance. (See America, How Much More Will You Accept From the DC Criminals?)

Focus on that last part of the definition above. Socialism is the transitional period between capitalism and communism, in which collectivist principles are utilized. Collectivism is the principle of centralized social and economic control, especially of all means of production.

No honest person could look at the efforts of The United States of America over the past 100 years and make the case that the Federal Government has protected individual rights and property rights. No analysis, no matter how skewed or biased, could ever conclude that Americans are as free…or more free…than they were in 1800.

So, it is entirely proper and intellectually honest to state that the US Federal Government has continued down a path toward socialism, inevitably arriving at collectivism/communism.

The Federal Government is nationalistic, and it is socialistic. Therefore, it is proper to refer to the US Federal Government as a national socialist form of government.

Nazi.

The next time you see the word “Nazi” used to define the actions of the US Federal Government, or as a word meant to smear their character, you’ll know that the word has been used in its most proper use in the English language.

Final words about the matter. Surely you do realize that, if you support state secession, all of these examples of evil disappear when your state becomes its own sovereign nation. The US Federal Government’s intrusion in your life goes away forever.

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.


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.