The Constitution is Supposed to Protect Us From Washington

The US was established as a Constitutional Republic. The Founding Fathers provided us with three vital documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and its amendments, called The Bill of Rights. Taken together, these documents establish the philosophic bases of our government and set up a foundation from which all laws in our nation proceed. While the Declaration of Independence states the philosophic basis of why and what we are as a nation, the Constitution and Bill of Rights spell out how we are to run that nation. Together these documents outline clearly what the government is allowed and not allowed to do, what rights citizens have and where those rights came from.

The Declaration of Independence, for example, states unequivocally what are called “self-evident truths” which cannot be argued with precisely because they are self-evident. These truths are “…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…” The Declaration goes on to say, “…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” This means clearly that the purpose of government is exclusively to secure the rights of citizens and that it derives the power to do so from the people it is established to protect. Put bluntly, the government is not supposed to be those people over there in Washington D.C. or in the state capitals or city halls. It is supposed to be each and every one of US citizens. Furthermore, the Declaration states that our rights come to us from our creator and are unalienable by anyone, including the government.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights spell out simply, but precisely, the limits of government. It does not limit the rights or freedom of people. That is because the Constitution and Bill of Rights are in place to protect the people from the government. Many people make the mistake of thinking that the Constitution is put in place to protect people from other people, but that is an error in thinking and it is an error that some politicians encourage, because they do not want the people to realize that they, and not the government, have unalienable rights. The truth is that government has no rights whatsoever. It is there to protect the rights of citizens. However, government does have strength, because it must have strength in order to enforce violation of citizens’ rights. Because of this, George Washington, perhaps the most eminent American of his day, warned us that “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

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The simplicity with which the clauses of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are written is deceptive. They mean exactly what they say, no more and no less. When in the First Amendment it states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” There is no “interpretation” necessary, except to repeat what the Amendment states completely. The Government can’t set up a religion; it can’t force any citizen to worship or not worship one way or another; it can’t keep any citizen from saying what he wants, either in print or in oral speech, and it can’t restrict people from gathering together for any purpose. It also cannot prohibit people from criticizing the government or of demanding that their grievances be addressed and corrected.

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By the very simplicity of the Constitution, and most of the early Amendments, all rights are enumerated, or plainly stated. In order to change the basis of our society and to limit our freedoms, some amendments have been made to the US Constitution that are questionable in their wisdom. Other amendments have been deliberately misinterpreted to create the illusion that there are unenumerated rights within the original simple texts. But many wise jurists have asserted and insisted that there are NO UNENUMERATED RIGHTS in the Constitution or its Amendments. Thus, many laws are challenged as unconstitutional and cases to determine this are heard by the US Supreme Court, whose job is to decide whether laws are constitutional. Sometimes they appear to do this wisely. At other times, however, judges who want to make laws rather than interpret existing laws, deliberately stretch their interpretation of the original texts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is called judicial activism, and it can be a threat to citizens’ rights.

All rights are individual. There can be no group rights. There is no such thing as a collective in nature. Even ants are individuals, as are blades of grass or drops of moisture. They may come together and appear as a mass, but in truth, each and every thing on the Earth is independent from every other thing. This is especially true of human beings. Each of us occupies a separate space, a separate set of genes, and a separate independent mind. Each person possesses his or her own freedom and set of rights and government is not allowed to deny that fact. It is the most important principle on which our nation was founded. Never before or since, in human history was a nation founded on the recognition of individual rights to be protected by, but never abrogated by, government.

But beware. Politicians always seek power over people. Our constitution forbids that explicitly. We as citizens would do well to remember that our eternal vigilance against their acquisition of power over each of us as individuals is the price we must pay for our liberty.

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