John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Independence Day!

I know that in some circles it's considered very gauche to be patriotic, and doubly so if you have the bad taste to be a citizen of the United States.

Well, I am; but my patriotism isn't connected to the administration du jour, whatever that may be. My patriotism is founded on respect and admiration for the founding principles of the country.

The U.S.A. was born in a time when religious factions, just within the dominant Christianity no less, were slaughtering each other. Following the edicts of the pope carried a death sentence in some places -- not doing so did in others.

It was born in a time when nations were ruled by individuals and their whims; if England had been ruled by a relatively sane parliamentary body instead of the barking mad King George, we new worlders might yet be singing "God Save the Queen."

It was also born in an age when the right of the individual was completely subservient to the power of the state. Your life, your property, everything about you was yours by the whim of the government, and could be taken away without notice.

The structure of our government was therefore built very carefully to negate all of those conditions. The U.S. Constitution was at the time one of the most radical documents ever written because it attacked the very heart of the dominant societal structure of the day. George Washington was not "by the grace of God, king!" He was President because WE, THE PEOPLE said so!

The fact that so many people in this country, not only among the citizenry but also within the government itself, don't seem to GET this idea, or worse, don't CARE, frustrates the hell out of me. People keep trying to simultaneously expand the power of the government and curtail the rights of individuals. Far too many people out there keep wishing for Plato's model of the Benevolent Dictator. They want America to have a Good King who will take care of everybody and make the rest of the world love us and cause the sun to shine and the flowers to grow.

That's what the people in 18th century Europe wanted, too. And they didn't get it, either.

Why do people behave this way? It's basically because they're short-sighted. Demidupes want to create the Touchy Feely Happiness Act, so they trample on the 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 10th amendments. The Pooblioobs want to create the Smite Wickedness Act, so they trample on the 1st, 4th, 6th, 9th, and 10th amendments. Neither group realizes (or maybe just doesn't want to believe) that all of the rights enumerated there are absolutely vital to preserve their freedom to howl about it.

Hate the 2nd amendment's protection of a gun-toting citizenry? So did Hitler. Hate the fact that the 4th and 6th amendments protect property rights? So did Stalin.

I don't claim that our country lives up to these ideals all the time; in point of fact, thanks to short-sightedness on the right, left, and in the middle, our record has been pretty darn spotty. But that isn't a failure of the founding principles; that's a failure on OUR part to live up to them. You can't elect a Good King, and for that matter it's damn difficult to elect a decent president. As I keep saying, "GOOD PEOPLE DON'T WANT THE JOB."

The best you can do, is keep trying. But at least do this much: When you go to vote, when you write your congresscritter, when you attend rallies or whatever you do, instead of thinking about your Cause Du Jour, think BIGGER. Think about your liberty, and the liberty of the people around you, and most importantly, about the liberty of people who disagree with you. Every weapon you put in the arsenal of the 900-lb. gorilla of D.C. to help your cause today, is a weapon that's going to come back and bite you in the butt later!

THAT'S why the founders wanted to LIMIT the thing. Administrations change; public mores and moods change; today's business-as-usual is tomorrow's unspeakable crime. Do you really want the government to be able to come along and steamroll over you, because YOU gave it the authority to steamroll over somebody else?

-The Gneech

Amendment I
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.

Amendment II
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.

Amendment III
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.

Amendment IV
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.

Amendment V
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 offense 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.

Amendment VI
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 defense.

Amendment VII
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 reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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

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

Amendment X
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.
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