Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We've Gone Too Far

"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.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

"No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

"In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

"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."

Does it sound like a dream? It shouldn't. It's the first 10 amendments of your constitution, the Bill of Rights from the American Constitution, the Federal Constitution, the limits and powers of your supposedly constitutional federal government. When read like this, it's pretty clear what it says, but we never read it like this. We read the amendments by themselves, and thus we don't get it. We don't. We zero on one little piece, and pretend that the rest doesn't exist.

I realized this when I was looking at the Ninth Amendment (the ninth paragraph above) just now. It seemed so vague, so out there, so pecuiliar and unclear, but it talked about an "enumeration," which may not technically be a pronoun, but might as well be. It occurred to me that, while they may have been passed as 10 amendments, it is ONE bill of rights.

And then something else occurred to me. This amendment, this ninth amendment, is a direct response to exactly what the current "health care reform" is trying to do. There are people out there who want you to think that the founding fathers were playing a game of Simon Says, that because they didn't specifically say that you have right not to buy something, that the powers of "regulating commerce" could extend to every walk of your life, that the constitution is naught but a game of trick questions like those on an IQ exam. But the Founding Fathers, here's what they said:

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

That is what you call a rebuttal, a rebuke.

When we cross the line of deciding that we may decide what people buy, not to support something else that they own as in the case of environmental requirements against power plant owners or even accident insurance for car owners, but simply because they, the government, have "the power to regulate commerce," which to them means all your money, property and labor, not any freedom of yours, not any individuality of yours, just the all important interstate commerce. No life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for you, just the Commerce Clause. What will come next? What will come next? Will they order us to spend money at the mall during deflation? Will they order you to buy stocks and bonds when the market tanks to avoid "panic?" Will they force people to buy calculators to make checkout lines run faster? Will they force consumption at failing shops and restaurants? Will they make us burn our money and delete our bank accounts to counter inflation?

And when will it end? What happens when they decide that a baby cannot be born because a genetic defect would hurt the economy through the cost of caring for them?

We've gone too far. We need a new amendment. We need to strike down the commerce clause. Obviously the courts cannot be trusted to understand the intricacies of our own bill of rights, their sacred duty, so we must give them something plainer, something easier, something that they'll get, something that doesn't require the intelligence they appear to lack. Here's an idea:

"In the realm of commerce, the Federal Government may regulate only transportation and only those actively transporting goods or state agencies and for-profit businesses that deal directly with them and in no manner indirect."

This has gone too far. We are about to cross the line to unlimited government power, in the name of money, money, sad worthless money, not life, not happiness, not freedom or even decency, but money.


FishHawk said...

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Jeremy Janson said...

Thank you for the great honor, and the image is perfect! Stop by again.

FishHawk said...

I am sure that you will want to post something about this in the near future, but in the meantime, be assured that I am greatly concerned that the mess down in Arizona this weekend will embolden those who want to take away our rights to individual gun ownership. No, I do not think that they will get very far with it, but much damage has been done.

Jeremy Janson said...

@FishHawk: Thanks for reminding me. I haven't been posting much as you can see for the past few weeks, trying to mostly spend time away from the internet, but I will get around to it soon.

I think probably the easiest to state reason for why this does not justify gun control is that you wouldn't need a gun to do it. To cause an equal amount of roughly the same kind of damage, I personally would use bleach, ammonia, a glass bottle, a combustable water impermeable separator, and a flammable string fuse, all from a supermarket, and nails from a hardware store, and thus create a homemade fragmentation bomb, and in the UK where guns aren't allowed Glasgow has become the knife capital of the world, carrying out the same murders with daggers that were before done with pistols.

This is certainly not the only decent counterargument out there, or by any means the deepest or most meaningful one, but it is extremely easy to state, prove, and empirically demonstrate.

Adullamite said...

Glasgow is not the knife capital of the world. The facts dictate that Eastern Europeans all carry knives, and the records of Balkans and knife crime is not adequately recorded. Glasgow is a far safer city than any in the US The reason? The individual does not walk the streets carrying a gun and a false understanding of 'freedom!'
Any nation that shoots dead thirty thousand of its own citizens while crying 'freedom to carry guns' is clearly living a lie!
The real answer is an inadequate understanding of life. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' is a dream that produces selfishness and a lack of concern for others needs!

Jeremy Janson said...

@Adullamite: http://www.forbes.com/2008/12/24/america-philanthropy-income-oped-cx_ee_1226eaves.html

"One fact, though, does stand out: Among developed nations, those with higher taxes and bigger social safety nets tend to have lower rates of giving. In charitable giving as a percentage of GDP, nations with cradle-to-grave welfare systems rank far down the Johns Hopkins list: Sweden 18th, France 21st, Germany 32nd."

And honestly, I really doubt you have ANY understanding of freedom, as if you did, you would see that it is wrong to clip an eagles wings and claws. What government forces you to do IS NOT your own morality. I believe Christ said it best, "one must clean the inside of the jar, then the outside may also be clean" my superficial liberal friend.

Also, there's actually a much higher spread among crime rates in American cities then you think. Some cities (e.g. Dallas, Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia) are veritable war zones while others (e.g. NYC, Seattle, and Pheonix) have very low crime rates. Other cities have high crime rates overall, but it's concentrated in just a few areas, as is the case in Los Angeles and Chicago. One tendency does stand out however: the highest crime cities tend to have LOW overall gun ownership rates.

Gun owners in America live in a combination of rural and suburban areas where crime is rare, and the handful of cities (mainly out west) where gun ownership rates are high and crime rates tend to be low. The only city that has both high a crime rate and a high gun ownership rate is Houston, TX, where almost all the crimes are committed by ethnic minorities and desperate New Orleans runaways who were thieves in that city too. All other areas with high gun ownership rates have low crime rates.