Sunday, August 01, 2010

Thomas Jefferson's secession manifesto

Thomas Jefferson's secession manifesto

I fully support the various state secession movements that have sprung up around the US (even as I disagree with many of their reasons). Not that I think a state, county, or city government is any more legitimate than a federal government, but because to solve a problem, it often helps to break it into more manageable pieces. It also gives me hope that these movements will eventually become an annoying distraction to the feds.

Authoritarians, especially those who are government extremists, may claim it is not "legal" to secede. They may point to the Civil War's result as proof of their position. They would be dead wrong according to America's primary founding document.

The Declaration of Independence proclaims "...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [securing the individual's unalienable Rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it..."

This doesn't give us the right "to alter or to abolish" a government any more than the Bill of Rights gives us the rights listed there; it recognizes a right that has always existed in all humans everywhere at all times. I would go further than even that and say that people, individuals, have the right to ignore, alter, or abolish any government that they feel is not working in their best interest, even if it has not yet become openly destructive to their "unalienable Rights", which include ("...among these are..."), but are not limited to, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". By the time a government has actually become destructive to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" it may be too late to divorce that government peaceably.

The first option, and the most peaceful, is to ignore the offenders. If this fails it can still be a peaceful option to alter that government in order to remove the violations it has enshrined in its body of "laws" and daily operations. The very last option, one that can be as peaceful or as violent as the government's employees choose, is to abolish that government. Whether these last two can be done peacefully or not depends on those who work for and support that offending government. Will they lay down their arms and step aside when ordered to, or will they fight to keep their ill-gotten power?

The question is, do you know of any government, anywhere on Earth, that has not become destructive to "unalienable Rights", including, but not limited to, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"? If those governments violently resist being ignored or altered, then they leave the people no alternative but to abolish them. Don't like the implications? Take it up with Thomas Jefferson.

An Albuquerque church is spreading the message that drug abuse can have bad consequences. As if that is a secret. Ignoring the fact that everyone already knows this, they are using live drama to illustrate the dangers: "It shows where a life of drugs will lead, like premature death or prison." Forget the fact that prison is NOT a consequence of drug abuse, but of drug prohibition. As is the case in a large percentage of the premature deaths attributed to drug abuse, as well.

Abusing drugs, or anything else, is stupid, but prohibition is evil. It would be nice, and much more honest, if the church would address that issue as well.

The pastor is also spreading a dishonest message that could well backfire. He is quoted as saying "Our whole message is make a change, and that change will cause you to have a great future." There are no guarantees, and if people who are in need and hurting, the kind susceptible to both drug abuse and religious messages, find that their future is not as great as promised, they may fall back into old patterns that could hurt them. Honesty is better. Tell them they are responsible for their lives; that bad choices can result in bad consequences; that no one is obligated to rescue them from their choices, but that there is no guarantee that good choices will make their future "sunshine and roses".

While writing this column on the Declaration of Independence, I was amused to notice one of the enumerated grievances used as justification for secession from Great Britain. The people who are the strongest advocates of “immigration control” would find themselves in the position of having the founders of America, whom they claim to revere, opposed to their efforts:

"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
..." [Emphasis mine]

Wave that in some Tea Partier's face!