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Understanding the Constitution

A site for learning and understanding the Constitution

Location: United States of America
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28 Principles of Liberty

Not long ago I ordered a box of pocket constitutions to hand out. I thought it a novel ideal that really made a point that struck home with most people. The website I ordered these from was some kind of National Constitutional something or other, actually they were some kind of non-profit organization that teaches classes on the constitution. Along with the pocket constitutions they sent me a DVD with some of their classes on it. The class structure follows the book the 5000 year leap. In case you havn't heard of it, I suggest you get it and read it. It was one of the books Glenn Beck read before he wrote "Common Sense". It's main premise is that because of the constitution and the Freedoms and Liberties it gave the United States, we went from a country and people who rode in Ox Carts to walking on the moon in less than 200 years. Hence the 5000 year leap. Technology and people had not changed in 5000 years until the constitution freed us up and gave us the individual freedom to think and produce more than we ever thought was possible. Anyway you would have to read the book to get the whole jest of what they are saying. One part of the 5000 year leap though, are the 28 principles of Liberty. According to the classes I watched last night if you memorize these and know them, you'll be able to read any bill presented to Congress or the Senate, listen to any politicians ideas, and be able to relate them to one of the principles and know imediatly if the bill follows the constitution and the founding fathers ideas of what this country is supposed to be. That will be the guide for the classes we'll have here. Once we have a good group I'll post a schedule so we can all meet here for the class and get on chat to discuss what we have learned. I really can't wait to hear from everyone and see what wonderful ideas we can come up with. So here are the principles:

Principle 1 - The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

Natural law is God's law. There are certain laws which govern the entire universe, and just as Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, there are laws which govern in the affairs of men which are "the laws of nature and of nature's God."

Principle 2 - A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." - Benjamin Franklin

Principle 3 - The most promising method of securing a virtuous people is to elect virtuous leaders.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who ... will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man." - Samuel Adams

Principle 4 - Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.... And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion." – George Washington

Principle 5 - All things were created by God, therefore upon him all mankind are equally dependent, and to him they are equally responsible .

The American Founding Fathers considered the existence of the Creator as the most fundamental premise underlying all self-evident truth. They felt a person who boasted he or she was an atheist had just simply failed to apply his or her divine capacity for reason and observation.

Principle 6 - All mankind were created equal.

The Founders knew that in these three ways, all mankind are theoretically treated as:

1. Equal before God.
2. Equal before the law.
3. Equal in their rights.

Principle 7 - The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things.

The Founders recognized that the people cannot delegate to their government any power except that which they have the lawful right to exercise themselves.

Principle 8 - Mankind are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights.

"Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as are life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal [or state] laws to be inviolable. On the contrary, no human legislation has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner [of the right] shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture." – William Blackstone

Principle 9 - To protect human rights, God has revealed a code of divine law.

"The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found by comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature, as they tend in all their consequences to man's felicity." – William Blackstone

Principle 10 - The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people.

"The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legislative authority." - Alexander Hamilton

Principle 11 - The majority of the people may alter or abolish a government which has become tyrannical.

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes ... but when a long train of abuses and usurpations ... 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." - Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence

Principle 12 - The United States of America shall be a republic.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands...."

Principle 13 – A Constitution should protect the people from the frailties of their rulers.

"If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.... [But lacking these] you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself." – James Madison

Principle 14 - Life and liberty are secure only so long as the rights of property are secure .

John Locke reasoned that God gave the earth and everything in it to the whole human family as a gift. Therefore the land, the sea, the acorns in the forest, the deer feeding in the meadow belong to everyone "in common." However, the moment someone takes the trouble to change something from its original state of nature, that person has added his ingenuity or labor to make that change. Herein lies the secret to the origin of "property rights."

Principle 15 - The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations.

Prosperity depends upon a climate of wholesome stimulation with four basic freedoms in operation:

1. The Freedom to try.
2. The Freedom to buy.
3. The Freedom to sell.
4. The Freedom to fail.

Principle 16 - The government should be separated into three branches .

"I call you to witness that I was the first member of the Congress who ventured to come out in public, as I did in January 1776, in my Thoughts on Government ... in favor of a government with three branches and an independent judiciary. This pamphlet, you know, was very unpopular. No man appeared in public to support it but yourself." - John Adams

Principle 17 - A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power by the different branches of government.

"It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it." - James Madison

Principle 18 - The unalienable rights of the people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written Constitution.

The structure of the American system is set forth in the Constitution of the United States and the only weaknesses which have appeared are those which were allowed to creep in despite the Constitution.

Principle 19 - Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained by the people.

The Tenth Amendment is the most widely violated provision of the bill of rights. If it had been respected and enforced America would be an amazingly different country than it is today. This amendment provides:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Principle 20 - Efficiency and dispatch require that the government operate according to the will of the majority, but constitutional provisions must be made to protect the rights of the minority.

"Every man, by consenting with others to make one body politic under one government, puts himself under an obligation to every one of that society to submit to the determination of the majority, and to be concluded [bound] by it." – John Locke

Principle 21 - Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom.

"The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent [to perform best]. - Thomas Jefferson

Principle 22 - A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men.

"The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence of others, which cannot be where there is no law." – John Locke

Principle 23 - A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education.

"They made an early provision by law that every town consisting of so many families should be always furnished with a grammar school. They made it a crime for such a town to be destitute of a grammar schoolmaster for a few months, and subjected it to a heavy penalty. So that the education of all ranks of people was made the care and expense of the public, in a manner that I believe has been unknown to any other people, ancient or modern. The consequences of these establishments we see and feel every day [written in 1765]. A native of America who cannot read and write is as rare ... as a comet or an earthquake.” John Adams

Principle 24 - A free people will not survive unless they stay strong.

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." – George Washington

Principle 25 - "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations -- entangling alliances with none."- Thomas Jefferson, given in his first inaugural address.

Principle 26 - The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore the government should foster and protect its integrity.

"There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated.” Alexis de Tocqueville

Principle 27 - The burden of debt is as destructive to human freedom as subjugation by conquest.

"We are bound to defray expenses [of the war] within our own time, and are unauthorized to burden posterity with them.... We shall all consider ourselves morally bound to pay them ourselves and consequently within the life [expectancy] of the majority." – Thomas Jefferson

Principle 28 - The United States has a manifest destiny to eventually become a glorious example of God's law under a restored Constitution that will inspire the entire human race.

The Founders sensed from the very beginning that they were on a divine mission. Their great disappointment was that it didn't all come to pass in their day, but they knew that someday it would. John Adams wrote:

"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth."

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Comment by Milton F Gregory Jr on April 6, 2010 at 5:55pm
Comment by Rick Perry on March 26, 2010 at 6:53am
Gary, that you hit the nail on the head with that piece. It all comes down to the fact that the government's only authority is the authority we have and gave to them. This is not understood by most people. With that said, I don't have the authority to tell you that you have to buy insurance, therefore, the government in no way has the authority to make a law saying that we all have to buy insurance. What is happening now goes a little further than that though, they now think they can create rights, the founders knew in no uncertain terms that they could not create rights. Rights, they knew came from the creator, they are the natural laws, the natural rights that every person is born with. Somewhere along the line our country quit being a nation under god. With that accomplished now the government thinks they are god and can create rights. We have lost our way and it's going to be a long haul before we get back on track, but we can. Thankfully, people like you and me and thousands of others are studying and learning what the constitution is all about and what it really says and what it doesn't. If you have not read the 5000 year leap I suggest you do, it looks like by your writing that you have. Thanks for posting a wonderful article and keep a firm upper lip, we'll continue to fight for right and we will win.
Comment by Gary Hunt on March 25, 2010 at 4:55pm
from: http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/blog/?p=186

Let's talk about the Constitution
Gary Hunt
March 17, 2010

Patriots have, for decades, challenged the assertion by the courts that the Constitution does not apply to you (the Defendant). The Defendant's reaction is that the court is ignoring the Constitution. So, to begin with, let's make one thing clear about the Constitution -- It does not operate on you.

Now, most of you are probably scratching your head and wondering what I have been smoking. Well, I have been smoking tobacco. Tobacco was one of the principal means by which we were able to fund the Revolutionary War. The use of that tobacco is my right, and is without the authority of government to intrude upon.

The government was given no authority, by the Constitution, to act upon the people, nor were the people in any way bound by the Constitution.

The Preamble to the Constitution for the United States of America sets forth its (the Constitution's) purpose:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Read very carefully that the purpose is to provide for certain things, especially "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". Now, how is that to be accomplished? Quite simply, by framing a government that will achieve those ends.

As was so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence:
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.

So, the Constitution set out to complete that which was proposed in the Declaration of Independence, "That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." So, clearly, the intention of both the Declaration and the Constitution is to provide a government -- not a people, but a government -- which purpose is to secure those blessings.

So, a government is created by that Constitution. If you read it, carefully, it is instructions for the creation and management of the government. It also provides for both authorities and limitations on what the government is allowed to do, even to the point of separating the national functions from the functions of the states.

Now, let us consider what we have given the government. We have given it "authority" to do certain things, and, have withheld from it the authority to do other things. We have not said what we could do, or what we could not do, with only a few exceptions (counterfeiting, treason, etc.). And, absent those exceptions, there is nothing that is imposed upon us.

Going a bit further, it must be presumed that if we granted the authority, to the government, to do certain things, that we must have had the authority to make such grant. After all, how can I grant to someone, or something, that which I do not have, myself?

But, that is what government is (at least under our Constitution), the transfer of authority that we hold to the collective instrument of government. For example, I have the right to protect my property. Though I do not give up that right, I have assigned a portion of my authority to protect my property to the government. However, this does not preclude me from protecting my property in the absence, or failure, of government to do so. However, once the government has interceded, by, say, apprehension of someone who stole from me, I relinquish my right to shoot him in the act of stealing, and subordinate my authority to the collective authority, by virtue of the right to a trial by jury.

Similarly, we have granted the government the authority to wage war on our behalf. We have conditioned that grant of authority in the requisite that only the Congress can Declare War, since war is, by its nature, a community affair and, if we go to war, the majority of the community must agree to it. Otherwise, if only one member of a community is allowed to declare war on another community, he has, by his act, embroiled all of the other members of his community, and the other community, in a blood contest. Quite clearly, the authors of the Constitution realized this relationship when they set forth the requisite that the Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, concur on war, and did not give that authority to one man, even though he be the executive of that community.

So, we can see how the Constitution was a grant of collective authority, for the purpose of consolidating our individual authority into a government, for the purposes laid out in the preamble.

Now, if we look at the limitations and restrictions, we will see that they are not laid out to protect us. Quite simply, they were laid out to limit the authority that we have granted.

So, the question arises as to whether that authority is only valid in the United States, or, even only applicable to citizens of the United States.

Well, the Constitution does not define where it is applicable, it only states that the government (the creation of the people) can, or cannot, do certain things. It is the chains that bind the government. It is the authority by which they exist. The government cannot do what it is not authorized to do.

If you give someone a position of management in your company, and you set limitations on that management authority, the authority (under the laws of agency) extends only to what and where that authority is given. The authority is a grant based upon what you have, and the limitations on location are, quite obviously, limited by what you own and have authority over.

So, do you have the right to kidnap someone? If not, then you cannot grant that right to government. In fact, the necessity of retraining someone is clearly defined, though as an afterthought (clarification) in Article V, Bill for Rights. This was an assurance that the government could not presume to be able to do what we could not, deprive someone of their Liberty, without the consent of the people, via the Grand Jury. Having not the power to kidnap, how can the government assume that we could give them that authority?

Punishment, likewise, is restricted to that which is not cruel, nor is unusual. And, punishment is always a consequence of crime, that crime to have been determined to have been committed by the accused by a jury of his peers.

This, when coupled with the right not to be required (forced) to witness against yourself (again, an afterthought included in Article V. Bill of Rights), the right to be secure in your person, house, papers and effects (Article IV, Bill of Rights, again a prohibition on the government), together provide a prohibition on the government from forcing you to give up your secrets, incriminate yourself, or to any other form of duress, especially when that duress is imposed by physical means (torture).

In the final extreme, the government has withdrawn previous laws that prohibited assassination. They have assumed that they have the authority to 'impose capital punishment', without benefit of a trial.

To presume that authority was granted to punish, without conviction, for the purpose of obtaining information, or to execute him without trial, is repugnant to the Constitution, and without any authority that was vested in the government by the people.

As Thomas Jefferson said, in his draft of the Kentucky Resolves (1798), "It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights... Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power... Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

If we assume that these limitations (restraints) upon the government are not to be imposed, when the person being subjected to such unauthorized actions is in another country, and we acquiesce to the government's presumed authority to exceed its written authority, either by enactment, or simply by actions, we have also acquiesced to the government ignoring the contract which created that government. Once 'granted' that authority by the people refusing to object to such violations, we have established the precedence that the Constitution is to be interpreted by those who exist only because of it, as they see fit. Once the government realizes that it has circumvented the Constitution, without objection, what is to stop those encroachments from going contrary to the Constitution (which it has, as explained, already done) to a point of total submission to the omnipotent power of the government?

In consideration of a solution to the problem, let us reflect on the significance of what we have learned.

Authority comes from us. We must assume, then, that either we, or the government, will define that which we authorized. If it be us, then we must object, whenever any such abuse of authority exists, or, we must concur. Ironically, if we object, and that objection is not heard, our recourse is what the Founders utilized in disposing of a government that did not adhere to its contract.

On the other hand, we might assume that, since we have allowed the government to decide what we have granted them, and, barring any justification that prevents us from exercising that same right, as in the case of defending our property, we must assume that we have the right to kidnap, torture and assassinate, as the government can have not authority which we do not possess.
Comment by Conrad C Gabbard on February 4, 2010 at 4:15pm
Christian,
You have certainly misjudged some, if not most of us. We have some of the most adversarial individuals on the planet here. Mature alphas, however, respect other alphas - without some compelling reason to do otherwise, as the price of such conflict can be grim. You’re surely aware of Heinlein’s: “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” Alphas - warriors if you will - the true predators and “sheepdogs” of our species, have nothing to prove and are competent in most adversarial circumstances, armed or unarmed. Remaining competent is a shared mandate for most, requiring ever-more knowledge. Few seek to lead, but can do so quite well when necessity commands. Knowing your friends is equally important to knowing your enemies.
Comment by Christian Jorgensen on February 4, 2010 at 1:03pm
Man!!! I like how you guys handled that. I am familiar with the both of you from watching you here, at the Second Amendment group, blogs and such and I can say with certainty that both of your desires are to continue with and build on our understanding of our rights as layed out by the Constitution. I know you both love a good debate but are in no way adversarial in nature. We could all take a lesson from this #1; Don't jump to conclusions and #2; Stay true to your intent of educating ourselves on the issues, we didn't come here to argue, we came here to make a difference. We are entitled to our views and opinions I would say as long is it isn't Progressive in nature and damaging to our country as it was intended to be. A paradox of life is the less we know and the more incompetent we are the less we are aware of our incompetence and ignorance. You two are very knowledgeable of what you speak and I am honored to have you here. You both advance the purpose this site was created and hope the value of what you bring to the table is utilized and we all become more educated on the things we really need to understand. God bless this beautiful Country and all that struggle to keep it in the context it was created !!!
Comment by Conrad C Gabbard on February 4, 2010 at 11:20am
If we could only be aware of all relevant factore when we make decisions of any consequence. But chains of reason, like science, must follow empirical, or firmly believed realities. Whenever I can interject some new factor into an ever-incomplete area of interest, I will have made a positive contribution IMO. We all know things the rest do not. Sharing simply empowers us all, at little or no cost.
Comment by Rick Perry on February 4, 2010 at 10:45am
Conrad I think you are an asset to this site. I welcome all of your comments in this group and think you add a great deal of value to it. Thanks like I said for keeping our minds churning...we all have to learn to listen to all sides and view all factors when making decisions.
Comment by Conrad C Gabbard on February 4, 2010 at 10:00am
Me? Rabble-rousing, Rick? I think, therefore doesn't everybody?

Good link for those of the Christian view(s) as well as the poorly educated in American history, Kathryn. Having read The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, by Benjamin F. Morris, and especially Gods of War, Gods of Peace, How the Meeting of Native and Colonial Religions Shaped Early America, by Russell Bourne, the many oversights of non-Christian factors in the lectures reduced my interest greatly. I understand these lectures are for a select audience, thus have no problem with them. Good stuff for most.
Comment by Kathryn McEwen on February 4, 2010 at 12:43am
THANK YOU VICKI SKAGGS COCHRAN

http://www.libertyandlearning.com/videos/

I found this to be an enlightening video of facts and history and thought you would enjoy it also...Vicki
Comment by Rick Perry on February 1, 2010 at 6:00am
That's like saying the 10 commandments is a living document, and must be read in context of an ever changing world. Maybe adultery is ok in this age and time. I know his view of the constitution, he also said on public radio that the constitution is an imperfect document that only states what you can't do...well Mr. President, there is a reason it does that. Thanks for keeping everyones mind churning Conrad.
 

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