Monday, March 22, 2010

The vanishing Bill of Rights

Through divine guidance, this nation's founders created a constitution which was designed to not only define the structure of our government, but, more importantly, to control its power. Our constitution was based on the belief that rights are God-given, intrinsic in man, and retained by the people -- not gifts retained by the government to be doled out, even rationed, by its officials. Naturally, this concept places great individual responsibility on the people and, especially, on our political leaders to use those rights wisely and to respect the rights of others. That is what made this nation great.

Our political leaders, like all members of our military, all take a sacred oath to protect and defend those rights -- not just selected rights, but all of them.

But, it seems that many of our politicians no longer believe the people have the intellect and judgment to make such decisions and therefore, they must make our decisions for us or at least restrict the options in our decision-making.

Consequently, over the past few decades, our government has steadily usurped and restricted our rights and liberties. The attitude of many people seems to be that if this results in the erosion of some rights and freedoms, so be it -- as long as the economy is doing well.

I am very concerned about this steady erosion of essential personal rights in this nation. Here is a tiny sample:
• If a person attempts to use his constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech to peacefully express his "politically incorrect" opinion on certain subjects, he is liable to be jailed under federal antiracketeering laws.
• Under the guise of controlling crime (particularly drug crimes) countless innocent citizens have been deprived of property without due process. This confiscation of private property is even taken for public use without just compensation!
• Today, we have over 23,000 laws in this nation restricting the constitutionally protected right of ownership and use of firearms. None of these gun-control laws has done anything to control the behavior of criminals. In fact, violent crime is highest where guns are most tightly restricted. The only true result of gun-control laws is to degrade the constitutionally guaranteed right of law-abiding individuals to own firearms. And many in politics, the news media, and show business want even more anti-second-amendment laws!

We are steadily reaching a point where the only rights and freedoms we'll retain will be those which offer no threat to an ever-expanding government. These ever increasing restrictions on our freedoms are nothing less than big-government style responses to emotional reactions to the symptoms of societal decay rather than carefully reasoned solutions to the underlying causes.

If politicians who seek to restrict our freedoms were to have any courage at all, they would introduce constitutional amendments to do so. Instead, they use the courts, executive orders, and "pass the buck" to bureaucratic agencies to modify our rights and freedoms.

Which of our freedoms is next? Which parts of the Bill of Rights do we really want to keep?

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken (In Defense of Women, 1920)

"Those who would place security over liberty shall deserve, nor receive either." -- Benjamin Franklin

"What diminishes a liberty you despise will inevitably diminish a liberty you cherish." -- Tom Gresham

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