Thursday, April 30, 2009

How soon we forget.

Our nation has engaged, over time, so many nations in the pursuit of intangibles, protesting the powers of ignorance, torture, greed, and infamy. But like Neitzche said of old, when you stare into an abyss, the abyss also looks back into you. Too often when we go out searching for monsters to slay within the outside world, our nation finds itself making monsters, in order that it be capable of fighting them.

But where are the real monsters? Are we focused, perhaps, outward because we dare not look at what lies in our own hearts, our own minds, our own souls? There are monsters in the world, aye, but we cannot fight that which we are becoming. We look outward to control others because we have so little self-control. We burden ourselves with laws and practices, bemoaning crime and establishing punishment even as we deny ourselves the opportunities to change those crimes and conditions. We talk of social forces, of the 'greater good', and listen to the sibilant whispers in the night, cryptically promising us 'better lives' and 'hope.

I don't have time today to recount what John Quincy Adams said in the beginning.
John Quincy Adams on U.S. Policy. It suffices, however, to say that he was correct. One does not bring the world to your door out of love for becoming its police man, but for love for what the nation offers, represents, and the light and hope it radiates into the world.

We do not become safer via torture, nor do we become safer by seeking out monsters in the world and entangling ourselves in world affairs.

We become safer by making ourselves so. We become safer by exercising our guardianship of our own nation, and leaving others to their own devices so that grasping politicians cannot subvert the nation to the will of others outside our control.

We become safer by exercising self-control, and self-mastery, by offering redemption to the fallen, and tough but fair policies to those who have transgressed against us. If we mean to be respected, we cannot be respected through fear, only feared. We must be respected, not for the power we wield, but how we wield it.

It avails a man nothing if he has the power of a Titan, and uses it recklessly and foolishly, expending it for no cause. We must offer to the world that which we seek from it. We must allow other nations to make their mistakes, and protect our own. This is not to say we should be isolationist, but very careful and measured within our actions. If we must bring the full force of retribution to bear against a nation, we must also bring the full force of compassion. We must allow a process for redemption, not only for nations, but for peoples. If a nation, or a person transgresses again against us, then we have cause to separate ourselves more fully.

If, however, we leave no means for redemption, no means for reuniting our mutual interests, does it not become a cold and lonely world, as more and more are separated from society? Can society stand when it is divided against itself, and more of its citizens disenfranchised and pushed to its edges, and outside the rule of law?

We've been selling dispensations and indulgences too long. It is time to level the field of law, not only for ourselves, but for all under our control and our influence.

No status is above the law, nor below it. No person is, or should be, greater in his power under the law, or above the law, or holding others below that law. We as a people must move beyond the idea that breakers of the law are less people, or that makers of the law are more important. All are parts of society, and all must work together to reform the society itself.

Here are human rights: Life, liberty, and property, and the ability to best defend all of the above.

All other rights flow from these. The right to life is dependent upon the right to property and the right to liberty. If a man freezes to death, because his property was taken, does that right to life help him? If a man dies because he had no means to defend his property, does the right to property mean anything? Each of those four rights are interdependent... and liberty itself, being a gift of living, is critical to the other three, as if one can legislate away the right to property, or to protection, or to life... do you still maintain the right?

The right to self-protection is one of these most important rights, not just self-protection from other individuals, but groups, and nations. Indeed, our bill of rights was engaged against the nation itself, not just against others who would take them, and the effective means of defense cannot be exercised if its exercise is outlawed. Our rights are our property, a very real property that must also be defended.

But that means of defense is not merely a means by arms, but also a means by words, a means by thought and perception, of learning and conviction. If we choose to defend our nation, our lands, our property, our family, and our very life, we must use all of the tools best suited to the purpose. This includes thought, questioning, argument, remonstrance, and the rule of law itself, along with the arms to deter the rule of law when tyrants bend it to their will. Our nation was created and founded in the objective of preventing and destroying tyranny within itself, from limiting the tyranny of the masses and the tyranny of the government via the republican system, to restoration of the rights at the end of a criminal sentence.

Do you still have rights if you cannot defend them? Do you still have liberty if all other rights are made illegal to exercise? If you cannot question, cannot be secure from government seizures of your property and your rights, cannot be secure from forced confessions, forced intrusions, and have no privacy, do you still have liberty? If the government can, by creation and denial of license, deny you the ability to exercise any of those rights, can you say that the rights are still yours, or has the exercise thereof been alienated to the government, transferred in both substance and material?

And is not that government and this nation also your property? Was it not for this purpose that the entities were created via contract between the people, and the Several States under the Articles of Confederation?

Think upon it, gentlemen and ladies of the nation. Does your petty squabbling over things superficial and transitory really matter when your property is being sold by those who do not own it, traded for their profit and that of their friends by people uncaring of your lives? Does it matter that the 'gays' are being married if your very lives are at risk from people making illusions of problems to divert you from those very real problems that exist? If you're banishing people, and simultaneously preventing them from leaving, preventing them from getting work, preventing them from volunteering in church... what are you really being distracted from?

Is it such a stretch that maybe the property in rights that you are giving up are not yours to give up, but something owned by every citizen in the nation, and barred by contract from giving up for any of them outside of that rule of law?

We talk of mutually binding interests outside of the United States, but forget we are a minority in the world in population. We talk of binding ideals, but our ideals even within the United States are full of conflicts and contradictions. We talk of a 'Christian nation' when everyone defines themselves as Christians but anyone differently as being non-Christian. We talk of racial inequality and ignore the people who are most pushing that inequality.

We talk of 'helping others find democracy' when we ourselves were barred from Democracy, due to its inevitably leading to tyranny. We are a republic. (see articles 22-51)

The founders did not need to know what technology would be available today.. they knew what people held in their hearts, the desire for power, for control, and that siren-song of corruption.

While they themselves had their flaws and mistakes... we have never yet, to this day, followed their precepts, and principles. From the Alien and Sedition acts, to the Internments, to the tortures of Abu Ghraib, the slavery in the Early United States, to the slavery of today... we have failed in both principle and essence.

Maybe it's time to attempt to return to them? When we were closer to the principle, the prevention of tyranny by vote, and tyranny by corporation and monopoly, prevention of tyranny by monetization, and prevention of tyranny by government... we were more prosperous. Note that more prosperous does not equal to more things, or more riches, but implies a balance between our material things, and our debts.

After all, are the things you own yours, or can the government come and take them for a mistake in taxes... one potentially even made by the IRS itself, without any review, without any legal process, or any recourse.

Are you really so free?

No comments: