Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Day?

Tomorrow is the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. While the celebration of Independence Day is normally a joyous event, we should also look back on the what and why of that day. We should also see how that relates to our country and world today. Before we can do that, a refresher on the previously mentioned document is in order.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. 
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. 
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and 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. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton
Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton

Now that we've reviewed this document, applying it's lessons to today's circumstances can begin. 

Many parts of our government have become destructive to the end goal of protecting the individual liberties that the formation of this loose collection of states was intended to achieve. Especially in terms of the regulations and rules imposed by unelected bureaucrats and the process of legislating from the bench in our federal and state courts. Our country has shed much blood to ensure that government based upon the central tenant that the individual has the right to Life, Liberty and Property(before signing changed to pursuit of Happiness)  and that those rights would not perish from the earth. 


When the country was formed, the idea was to regulate government so it could do little to regulate the individual. That idea has been turned on its head. Now, we have myriad federal and state regulations. My main point deals with the idea of federal regulation, because the states should be independent from the federal governments regulations on in-state issues and the state to state issues should be dealt with in a methodical manor as not to usurp those states and their right to self govern. 

We now have the Dept of Commerce, Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Energy, Dept of Education, Dept of Interior, Dept of Homeland Security, Dept of Health and Human Services,  Dept of Housing and Urban Develpment, Dept of Transportation, Dept of Veterans Affairs(a whole book could be written there) and all the many agencies, known as the alphabet soup of Washington DC, that fall under those departments' respective umbrellas.  When this country was founded and our first president took office, there were only four cabinet positions. Those were War(now Defense), State, Treasury and Justice. Most of these departments serve only one purpose and that is the purpose of existence. They exist to keep on existing. The way they do that is by creating a need for perpetual funding by making up problems that wouldn't exist if not for the department that was created to fix the problem. The departments, for the vast majority, are duplicates of mirror departments in most of the states. Why have 51 agencies when 50 would suffice? Ronald Reagan warned of this in his 1964 Speech, A Time for Choosing.

Here are a few examples of why our current federal government has become an entity that our forefathers would have rebelled against:

The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges

Rep. Bishop, Utah farmers fire back on federal groundwater proposal

These few articles serve to illustrate what a government that is concerned with power rather than individual rights will do if left unchecked. One of the reasons that large corporations that the left loves to rail against are so successful is for the reasons stated in the articles above. The large companies can afford to hire people in charge of compliance with regulations and licensing issues. Many small businesses don't have the manpower or funds to be able to comply with both state and federal regulations. The beauty of state regulation is that a business, should it so choose, can move from a state that has overly aggressive regulatory practices to a state with less onerous business rules. This isn't the case for federal regulations. States were intended to be the laboratories of self government. They simply aren't allowed to be any longer.

Fees, or just another word for Taxes 

When taxes are imposed by Congress, no matter how much we don't like them, they are done so with the authority that Congress is granted by virtue of the elective process and the consent(loosely at times) of the governed. When a bureaucracy establishes fees in order to engage in commerce or sometimes even just to go about your own business, that agency does so arbitrarily. When a panel of a majority of nine unelected judges say something is a tax, just for grins, they do so with no consent from the governed. Examples of this are everywhere. Here are just a few:

We aren't represented by the courts or the regulatory agencies. We, the people have little to no redress to these groups that impose undue costs on us. They serve to lord over a populace that has been, for the most part, too compliant to push back. When government holds the ability to raise our cost of living, while degrading it at the same time, with no recourse at the ballot box, that government must be challenged and changed. When those that we elect don't reign in the federal bureaucracy, they must be held to account in their next elective cycle by having primary challenges from those that have shown the will to cut the size and scope of government intrusion into the ability of a state to govern itself. Also, they need to be able to fight for each individual to have the freedom to determine what is best for that individual from an economic standpoint. All of these regulations and rules set forth by the federal government serve to reduce competition in the marketplace, increase dependency on the agency that has been given power over that aspect of the marketplace and generally make it impossible for innovative new ideas to be made a reality by any company or entrepreneur, outside of the largest and most well connected corporations. When making a better mousetrap is made to be cost prohibitive before the production even starts, the better mousetrap stays in concept form until a large company is able to buy off or figure out a way around the regulatory hurdles set in place by the federal bureaucracy. 

If a state has a regulatory climate that is antithetical to doing business at a good and decent cost, local and state elections have shown to actually fix those areas (at least where leftists loons don't control everything). Wisconsin has been a great case study. Utah has also shown great strides in making their state friendly for business. States that have little to no corporate and individual income tax tend to invite investment. States that have higher tax burdens don't. That is the beauty of giving the states the ability to determine what is best for that state. California, for example, might highly benefit if its west coast slid into the ocean(I kid...sort of).

I guess what I'm getting at is the majority of people of the several states are no longer placing value on the concept of independence from a great central authority. We have replaced King George with Uncle Sam. This is the uncle that ruins family reunions and acts out at funerals. He's the uncle that you don't really want to talk to anymore. He has a few honorable traits(uniformed service men and women come to mind) but on the whole, he is destructive, just for the sake of destroying things. When government is just about the next funding bill and saying a reduction in the rate of growth is a cut, it is time to reign it in. 

On this Independence Day 2015, let us recommit ourselves to working for the principles that made our country great, namely respect for the individual and for the states that those individuals choose to live in. The states were intended to control the federal government, not the other way around. I encourage all that read this to check out the #COSProject. Also, become active in letting your government representatives know how you think. Don't be diplomatic or shy about it either. Politicians need to remember that they work for us and not the other way around, as is the case in so much of our country. Also, you needn't care when some leftist troll calls you a racist, sexist, bigot or enemy of the government. The flak just means you are over the target.

Celebrate Independence Day tomorrow by reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States and remembering that our nation's founding was to throw off an oppressive government. We are being called to do the same thing again. 

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