The power of III

Summum ius summa iniuria--More law, less justice

05 July 2011

My Democratic Congressman either mis-uses or mis-interprets phrases in the Declaration of Independence

...and either way, it ain't good.

Ok, this is my response to my Congressman's email newsletter he posted on July 4th.  I will also send it to local op-ed pages of his constituency.

Please leave a comment below.

"I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice."

-- Friedrich August von Hayek, Nobel Prize for Economics, 1974 
 "Dear Friends,
July 4, 2011 ought to be more than a day to celebrate the birth of our beloved nation; it ought to be a day to remember the foundation on which our country was established and on which it has since developed...."

  I agree.  We must remember the foundation on which our country was founded: by studying and understanding original sources of the framers in order to understand their choice of language in the founding documents. 

"...Our founders provided this foundation with this phrase in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson's use of "equal" here refers to equality in the eyes of the creator, and that each human being has the inborn Natural Right to their life, their freedom of action, and the freedom to decide how they spend the span of their lives.

"...Two hundred and thirty-five years have passed since our founding fathers signed their names in passionate support of these words, yet the meaning of this illustrious phrase has yet to be fully realized..."

The passage in the Declaration of Independence ("...all men are created equal, etc.,...") has nothing to do with legislation, or the efforts of human beings striving in good faith to improve their society.  It simply means: G-d imbued man with rights at birth; i.e. this is the natural state of humankind. 

"...We cannot claim that “all men are created equal” and simultaneously treat certain citizens unequally..."

This is a misuse of the context of the word "equal" in the Declaration.  You are applying the word in its modern progressive sense.  
You may legislate until the end of time;  unfortunately, there will always be inequalities, and biases arise as a result.  Just look at any playground, high school dance, infantry platoon, boardroom, or congressional committee room. There are inequalities of skill, intellect, and physical beauty that each of us perceives within minutes.  Inequities and the biases that arise in society cannot be made more "fair" by law.     

....We cannot emphatically declare our country “the land of the free,” and in the same breath deny fundamental liberties to millions of Americans...

The July 4, 1776 document is a declaration of secession of the thirteen colonies from the rule of Parliament and King George III.  The Declaration does not carry the weight of law of the subsequent founding document, the Constitution of the united States. [--to the reader: "united States" purposefully left with lower case upper case]

Legislation attempting to engineer social norms is necessarily coercive, and such coercion is contrary to the general understanding of the "land of the free" concept to which you refer.  Legislating "equality" of any group is certainly outside the bounds of the constitutional mandate given to Congress, enumerated in Article I, Section 8.

"Land of the free" refers to freedom from government tyranny, remote powerful interests, and the arbitrary will of an executive/monarch.  It was never meant to refer to freedom from want, or freedom from bias, as noble as those goals are.

"...In Congress, we are currently finding ways to make sure that all Americans enjoy the same rights as their fellow citizens, further promoting the meaning of our founders' eloquence..."

The best way to achieve the only type of equality which is possible, equality of each individual before the law, is to promote a justice system that does not favor the connected/insider.  

To wit: start by passing laws which provide for a panel of local constituents to serve on short-term jury duty where they pass judgements on the actions of judges in their county and legislators in their district.  

In addition, trial jurors should be informed of the tradition of jury nullification, and their right and obligation to nullify at trial what they judge to be unjust laws. This is a Ninth amendment right (non-enumerated, non-delegated right, like the right to privacy, reserved to the people) and Natural Right.  Nullifying an unjust law is the only opportunity of an individual to apply the golden rule (treat others as you would have them treat you) in a formal legal setting. 

"...I am proud of my record in support of civil rights and equality and I haverecently earned an "A" rating from the NAACP and a 100% Civil Rights Score from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and from the Human Rights Commission. There is still work to be done in bringing about equality for all Americans. We must work to afford all of our children an equal opportunity to receive a proper education.  We must strive to ensure that all Americans are equally able to obtain health care..."

There is no guarantee of education, health, health care, or prosperity to any human in the World, unless someone else is forced to pay for it.  

When a person is forced to work for another's benefit under threat of punishment, is that not the essential justification of why we fought fascism and communism in the 20th Century?  If not, can you please explain to me why 600,000 Americans died in the second world war? 

Obligating health care workers to provide care without market rate compensation based on a formula derived from expenses plus a profit incentive, let alone "free" care funded, in part, by the tax money collected from those very health care workers, can be called indentured servitude or slavery by degree.  The health care provider no longer controls their own labor.  A central health care planning authority (likely to be as efficient and knowledgable at distributing resources as the Post office or Amtrak) and the legal system will coerce and limit the health care provider's actions.   

There is no way to guarantee a lack of prejudice and racism by coercive legislation.  On the contrary, the gall of legislators attempting to pass ways to obligate behavior in public is more likely to cause resentment and hardening of prejudice, in those who think that way.  

Prejudice and hatred can arise through indoctrination by parents, educators, or personal experience.  It cannot be legislated into or out of existence as long as we remain individuals possessing rationality.

"...I will continue to work so that the principle of equality on which our nation was founded might be fully realized..."

"...Half of our nation’s population has been fighting for equal rights for decades.  Women have come a long way in the last 100 years, to the point where we have women who have and are running for President with legitimate chances of winning major party nominations...  However, there are still too many women not being paid the same wages as their male counterparts.  In the previous Congress, we passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help bring equal pay for equal work for women...."

Again, think "land of the free": this is a law that makes potential criminals of business owners who are no longer free to decide that a particular worker is worth this or that level of compensation.  If a worker is more (or less) productive, more (or less) loyal to the employer, who better to determine what compensation/bonus that individual is due than the employer?  

The business owner who operates on a narrow profit margin faces a choice of losing their own profit, their ability to reinvest in their company, or even the threat or reality of an "unfair" compensation lawsuit or a wrongful termination lawsuit. 

If that business owner with a narrow profit margin is obligated to raise the salary of an employee based on a federal "fair pay" Act, that employer may have to let the employee go.  The supposed beneficiary of the law is then be added to the burgeoning ranks of the unemployed.  That would be the Law of Unintended Consequences, perhaps Congress' best known law, to those who look beyond the letter or intent of a law at its inception.   

"...I am a co-sponsor of Equal Rights Amendment, which originally passed Congress in the 1970s, and was only three states away from ratification before the deadline for ratification expired in 1982. June was Gay & Lesbian Pride Month, and members of the LGBT Community continue to fight for their inalienable rights..."  

The inalienable rights to which you refer are the right to Life, Liberty, and personal Property ( also known as the pursuit of happiness).  

Anyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or religion is born with these rights.  These are referred to as rights and not privileges because everyone is born with them. They are not granted nor removed by governmental action. 

When these Natual Rights are denied by other individuals it is a crime:  murder, assault, kidnapping, involuntary servitude, or theft.  These are crimes in the vast majority of states and cultures around the World.  

When the Natural Rights are violated by government, they are called: the draft, personal income tax, socialized medicine, minimum wage laws, eminent domain, judgements setting aside a jury verdict, suspension of habeas corpus, "enhanced interrogation", Japanese internment camps, quantitative easing, etc., and represent examples of Tyranny.

"...No American should be deprived of the same rights enjoyed by others, but that is exactly what has been happening for far too long.  This is the latest front in America's struggle for civil rights for all of our citizens.  On June 24, 2011, the New York State Legislature passed same-sex marriage in New York State..."

Why make marriage a legal issue at all?  It is a private, personal, and religious issue for everyone.  Were our ancestors not married before a government sometime in the past realized they could collect personal information and raise revenue by charging fees for marriage licenses?  In addition, as you invoke "the land of the free" are there not other ways to get around the issues of inheritance, joint tax filing, and health care proxies for couples of the same sex other than a marriage law?

I assure you, the majority of your constituents notwithstanding, many New Yorkers are discontented by such legislation.  

"... This action [New York state law on same sex marriage] signified a pivotal step in defense of the equality for which our country’s first patriots fought so many years ago...."

Obviously, you don't mean this literally. You either misuse or misinterpret the context of the "all men are created equal" phrase.

"...I have long worked to assure that the members of the LGBT community be afforded the same rights as their fellow citizens. I was one of the few members of Congress to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and strongly feel that its repeal is past due. I also voted for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and was very pleased to see this unfair policy repealed in December 2010..."

It can be argued that that these laws offend the majority of the 330 or so million people it affects, while pleasing the majority in limited constituencies.

Are these issues not better dealt with in each State, or better yet, each county, in order to be representative of the people's will, and to maximize the people's sense that they actually live in the "land of the free"?

No system is perfect, but decentralizing government avoids the difficulty of the red state blue state dichotomy on a national level.  It brings back politics where it is supposed to be: local.

While burdensome financially, people would then by free to stay or leave the locality that passes a law that they find difficult or impossible to abide-- i.e. voting with one's feet.  

"...My votes in favor of equal rights have been votes in favor of the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence. Without equal rights for all Americans, the words of the Declaration of Independence that we hold so dear are nothing more than that—words.  We cannot simply hail this language within this document—we must live by it. Only when we do this can we claim to enjoy the “inalienable rights” that our founding fathers stood for and our forefathers fought for...." 

"...The American Revolution ended over 200 years ago, but it is up to all of us to carry on the cause of our country’s brave revolutionaries. On this Independence Day, let us not only celebrate the strides towards equality that we have already made; let us also be energized and inspired by the memories of our forefathers to continue striving towards this goal.  We should also not forget the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending our liberties, regardless of race, creed, color, religion or sexual orientation.  They all fought to earn and preserve the American Dream, as Americans, for Americans.  Today, and into the future, we must continue working towards achieving the goal of equality for all Americans."

It is difficult to comment succinctly on these last paragraphs.  I do not agree with anything stated.  

Our revolutionary forefathers fought for political independence from a tyrannical government, and personal freedom from interference of government in their personal and financial lives.  "Social progress" was never a stated goal.

As the current generation of veterans and service people come home from unaffordable, (now proven-to-be) non-defensive wars, they find 10% unemployment, stagnation of the economy, loss of the purchasing power of their meager wages secondary to inflation planned by their own central bank (by design or incompetence).  

Our defender's wives, sisters, and kids have their fourth amendment rights violated in the most intimate manner possible, in their own airports, by their own government.  If they bother to check, they will find that their own government can now arbitrarily imprison, indefinitely, without charges, or execute, any person they deem an "enemy combatant", including American citizens.

Perhaps these returning veterans will realize that as much as they have an adversary hiding in that building outside the Green Zone in Baghdad, or in Helmand province in Afghanistan, there are adversaries to their Lives, Liberty, and Property haunting the halls of Congress, the Executive mansion, the Judicial branch, and the Federal Reserve.   

UPDATE: This will be published in the local (liberal) newspaper the week of July 11th.  I will publish any interesting responses that come my way.


  1. No one can pervert the English language like a progressive, and many of them are dense enough to actually believe their own misguided, misinformed opinions.

    However, I won't allow that excuse for a politician, who is supposed to be representing the appropriate and Constitutional needs and desires of his constituents. It is unfortunate that a number of poorly educated citizens will believe him.

    Thank you for the effort and the time involved in refuting this imbecile. People like him do untold damage to our liberty.