James Williamson guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: The new King George

Editor’s note:  I’m glad my brother, James Williamson, has time to write a blog entry these days. I’ve had my hands full with other responsibilities, and have been on the road, from coast to coast, since early April.  As a result, I’ve had sporadic internet access, which not only makes it difficult for me to compose blog entries, it makes it difficult for me to even stay informed on current events.  James does his best to try to inform me.

James is an Ohio native who currently resides in Nevada.  Fairly recently, while James was driving down a Nevada road, he was accosted by an employee of the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management.  He was issued a traffic ticket.  Huh? Say that again, I’m not sure I heard it right.  He really got a traffic ticket from the Bureau of Land Management?  Yup, and James wasn’t even driving on, nor was he driving adjacent to, federally owned lands.  According to the words on the back of the ticket, the payment of the traffic fine was to be sent to an address in Pennsylvania.  Crazy.  Apparently, Congress passed a law clearly overreaching the  enumerated powers granted to the federal government by way of the Constitution.

James has composed an entire “Imminent Rebellion” series examining the growing schisms between the sovereign people, the state governments, and the federal government.  Prior blog entries in this series are:  “Imminent Rebellion: States vs the Federal Government,” “Imminent Rebellion: The Tar Pit,” “Imminent Rebellion: The New Fort Sumter,” and “Imminent Rebellion: Nullification, Secession, and the Constitution.”


I’d like to start out by discussing a fallacy I hear so often quoted:  “It can’t get any worse than this.”  It can always be worse.  In fact I would argue that until people recognize that things can get worse they will get worse because living in denial brings inaction.  Inaction is the very cause of a downward trend continuing.  Something is broken and so you have to fix it.  If you don’t correct the problem it will continue to grow in severity until it becomes destructive.  The difficulty with breakdowns in our governmental/political system is that few people can agree on what is broken and hence what needs to be repaired and how.  So here is my view on our federal government problem.  (If you don’t think we have a problem then you scare me.)

Problem:  The federal government no longer recognizes the sovereignty of the people nor does it respect the sovereignty of the states.  These are both principles enshrined in our Constitution by the founding fathers (who were much wiser than our leaders today).  Both are essential to maintaining liberty because when a government retains all sovereignty there is no check on its power.  If there is no check on government power, the inevitable result is tyranny.  History has provided us with so many good examples that I could fill volumes with them, so, in the interest of brevity, I won’t include them here.

Many of our current so-called “leaders” barely make a pretense of adhering to the document that empowered our federal government and a few even openly dismiss it as out of date.  The Constitution is not outdated.  It will never be outdated.  Those who belittle its importance argue that the founding fathers could not have possibly seen 200 years into the future and anticipated the challenges that we have today.  While that statement is true, I would like to point out that the reason why the Constitution enumerates powers and outlines the federal system but doesn’t include any statutes is that it only enumerates individual rights and delegated authority (from the states to the federal government).  That is why we have a legislative branch in the first place.  It’s to deal with changing conditions, both at home and abroad.

In order to understand more clearly what is wrong with the government acting beyond its delegated authority we must understand why the Constitution was established in the first place.  To find this, let’s look at the preamble to the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

So, first of all, we understand that the federal government was created by the people of the United States.  It was created by the several states (not the other way around) and can (in theory) be abolished by the states by amendment.  So, it follows that the states, collectively, are superior, not inferior, to the federal government.  Furthermore, the people, collectively, are superior to both the state and federal governments.  Sovereignty lies with the people.  They hold the supreme power and, with it, the right to organize, alter, or abolish government as the need arises.  I have at least one friend who agrees with my view: Thomas Jefferson.  To quote the Declaration of Independence:

…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… [and when it becomes destructive]… it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government

The governed (the people or public)  in the thirteen former British colonies (now independent states) already recognized that there was a union among the several states before the Constitution was adopted and that it was imperfect.  They proposed forming a central government because they wanted to establish a more perfect union.  Why?

{To}… establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

This is the reason the Constitution exists:  It’s to preserve liberty.  Liberty must be preserved or it will be taken away by those who wish to exercise control over others.  The colonists wanted to control their own destiny, not have it controlled by a king that didn’t even live on the same continent as they did.  Our founding fathers recognized that the people are sovereign and have the inherent authority to govern.  So, when authority is given to the government, it is given to it by the consent of the people.

Now I ask you: Where in the Constitution of the United States is the mandate that says that the federal government needs to ensure everyone has money in their pocket and food on their table?  Is that promoting “the general Welfare?” No, absolutely not.

Remember that the colonists organized the Boston Tea party and numerous other protests because the government of Great Britain impeded the promotion of general welfare by imposing financial burdens on the colonists for government actions they weren’t even party to.  (Obamacare?  Libya?  Foreign aid to the Middle East?)  Furthermore, the taxes were imposed by the government in London without any representation or public support from the colonies.  That was an infringement on liberty.  The protests only increased when King George tried to crack down on the rebellion and used his ability to designate when, where, and how citizens could be tried for crimes to deter the resistance.  By delaying trials and holding them in distant places with no jury (the judge’s decision was final) the average citizen could not adequately protect himself from the abuses of government. (Justice and domestic tranquility weren’t priorities for the British crown.) The general welfare is promoted by maintaining liberty and individual rights (defense being a necessary element in a hostile world), not by robbing the rich to feed the poor.  (The Robin Hood principle actually degrades the general welfare of the people . . . but that is an argument for a different day.)  I will say, however, that the protests didn’t have anything to do with a lack of common defense.  Britain did a pretty good job of protecting their piggy bank in the Americas.

So I ask you, after we threw off the oppression of George III and we established a government for the express purpose of preserving liberty, how are we doing now?  Is allowing people who plot and carry out designs to kill Americans to be tried in civil court promoting justice?  Is refusing to enforce our immigration laws and suing the states that try to deal with the problem promoting domestic tranquility?  Is military involvement in Libya or Yemen providing for the common defense?  Is taking approximately 19% of everything that is produced in the country in the form of taxation promoting the general welfare?  Is forcing your own citizens to purchase health insurance against their will promoting liberty?

I could go on but I don’t need to.  You are all aware that our own government is now guilty of many of the abuses that caused us to throw off the British government in the first place.  The reason we fought the Revolutionary War was because the outcry of the public fell on deaf ears.  The government in London did not listen to its constituents.  Now we have a government in Washington DC that does not listen to its constituents.  It doesn’t need to end in bloodshed, though.  There is another way.

The solution:  The federal government needs to get back to the basics:

{To}… establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

Remember that, in the United States of America, the people are sovereign.  They have the right to govern themselves.  They only delegate authority to governments, . . . they don’t abdicate it.  The people delegated certain powers to the states and the states delegated certain (enumerated) powers to the federal government.

The federal government needs to preserve liberty, not trample it.    They also need to recognize that they are dependent on the states and the people for their existence, not the other way around.  If the federal government was looking out for the best interest of the citizens at large and not just the best interests of campaign donors, we would not have this problem.

This change can only happen from within.  This is the essence of the tea party movement.  So far no one in the national media has been able to articulate it, but the reason the tea party exists is because the federal government has become what we threw off over 200 years ago: Despotic!   This is a natural response from freedom loving people.  It is not radical, racist, or extreme.

The Declaration of Independence provides the remedy for the malady of despotism:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government

So I ask you:  Do you think the federal government is preserving your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  Or are they becoming destructive to such ends?  How does taxing the rich and refunding to the poor promote liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  I suppose if you are on the receiving end, you might think the idea is great, but what if you are the one having money taken out of your wallet against your will and having it given to someone else just because they make less money than you do?  How does allowing guns to be smuggled to Mexico by drug cartels promote our right to life?  How does forcing everyone to buy health insurance preserve our liberty?

If you believe, as I do, that the federal government (and, by the way, state governments are not guiltless) has overreached, then please support candidates that truly believe in limited government.  If they don’t live up to their promises, replace them.  As long as the political elites control Washington, this problem will only grow until it financially crushes the state governments and simultaneously usurps their authority to govern.  This is already beginning to happen.  Obamacare and high-speed rail are only aiding in the power grab by forcing spending on the states while only funding about half of it.  By bankrupting the states, there will be less resistance for the next usurpation of authority since there will be fewer funds available to fight the measure.

I was recently issued a citation for a traffic violation while traveling on a state highway here in Nevada by a Bureau of Land Management officer.  I was not even on or near BLM land.  Police power is not delegated by the Constitution (and my Congressional representative’s office even agreed with me) and yet I am being tried by the federal government for a traffic violation on a state highway that does not even border BLM land.  This is a blatant violation of the Constitution, yet the BLM claims that they are acting within the law.  What law?  The law that Congress created that was in direct violation of the 10th amendment?  That law?  Inexplicably, my Congressional representative’s office also agrees with the BLM officer in that he acted within the law.  What further evidence do we need to show that we need new leadership in Washington?

The political elites deride and berate the tea party movement because it is in direct opposition to their goals, not because it is bad for the country.  They don’t want their power limited. They want to expand it.  They usually use the pretext of solving societal problems, but they don’t solve society’s problems because they can’t.  Only we, as a people, can do that.  Government regulations will not make our kids smarter nor get them better jobs nor will it magically create wealth for our citizens.  The federal government needs to get back to preserving liberty by protecting against foreign invasion (Mexico anyone?), minting (real) money, and regulating trade (with China maybe?).  That is what the Constitution gave them the authority to do and that is what will allow the states and the public the liberty to focus on the issues of education, local commerce, rule of law, and the well-being of its citizens.

It is paramount that we elect representatives that will uphold the principles of liberty.  Time is short.  If we do not act soon, the only alternative we will have is the alternative that the colonists felt compelled to take: Exercise the right to bear arms.

12 Responses to “James Williamson guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: The new King George”

  1. James Says:

    Another good example of government gone bad is the Indiana supreme court decision earlier this year that flies in the face of the fouth amendment. Can’t resist an officer entering your home even if he doesn’t have a warrant? That’s breaking and entering at worst trespassing at best. I don’t care if he does have a badge…

  2. madrigalmaniac Says:

    Hi James.

    I haven’t commented here in a while and that’s my fault. Daniel is my favorite conservative blogger. Even tough I generally disagree with him, his posts are always well written, well thought, and insightful. Hell, he’s even changed my mind a time or two. It appears you have the same qualities.

    I agree that the federal government has probably overreached it’s authority granted by the constitution. I wish someone would tell our current Supreme Court that.

    Still, I have some disagreements.

    First, you seem to denigrate the social welfare that some Americans receive from the federal government. Yet the research clearly shows that when poverty is rampant crime increases. By providing resources for those who need them, are you not providing for the general welfare of all Americans?

    Second, since the is a blog from the right, I must point that it was Bush who changed our policy from one of defense to we can attack you if we think you’re going to attack us. The Bush Doctrine that Palin had never heard of.

    Third, the Tea Party is a fad. They may not be racist, but they are for the most part a bunch of middle aged, middle class white folks who are scared their safe little world is changing to fast. Maybe you’re the person that can tell me what they want. Because except for not raising the debt ceiling, all I can see is they want to do is bitch. They have no ideas or solutions.

    Are you actually suggesting that the Tea Party is akin to the colonists and if they do not get what they want they should take up arms against the government?

    Finally, I believe you have the problem backwards and this is where I will give the Tea Party some credit. At least they’re involved. The problems is not with the federal government, it’s the fact that Americans have abdicated their role as citizens.

    Take care, and stop driving so fast.


  3. James Says:

    Turns out I was on BLM land. I still don’t like the idea of the Feds issuing traffic tickets but would have been difficult to convince them they can’t patrol on their own land… Grr..

  4. James Says:

    Nice to see that there are still a few out there that can disagree without name calling.

    First, social welfare (or as I called it, the Robin Hood principle) does nothing to alleviate poverty. In fact I would argue that it only perpetuates it since it tends to dampen motivation. Why make an effort to improve if someone is giving you what you need already? There is much more I could say but I’d probably save that for another blog instead of trying to address it in a comment.

    Second, that argument doesn’t hold for Libya anyway because Libya was never a threat. The was not even a pretense that we thought they would attack us. Of course that was done once before too. Remember Bosnia and Milosevic (sp.?)?

    Third, I do not believe the tea party is not a fad but the only way to prove it is to wait and see. The tea party is very akin to the anti- federalists who were, for the most part, not well spoken nor well organized and yet were the impetus behind the bill of rights. As for taking up arms that may not be necessary at all, not because the tea party doesn’t get there way, but as you so astutely observed in point four, there may be enough participation from a motivated citizenry to prevent it.

    So I will concede your forth point. The symptom is a government that is out of bounds. The disease behind the symptom is the sleepy citizens being more preocupied with sports (or whatever else they use for entertainment) than what is happening with our government.

    What remains to be seen is how engaged the voters really are. I’ve already written a blog on monetary policy but it is not posted yet. The deficit issue (and more) will be addressed there. Fair warning, though, it includes some pretty radical thought… (OK maybe not all that radical but it is polar opposite of what our political leaders are doing…)

    Oh, and I only momentarily exceeded the speed limit. I was distracted by the burros and was coming down a hill. Unfortunately it only takes a moment…


  5. James Says:

    Oh, and I agree on your sentiments on the Supreme Court…. Hopefully they get it right on the cases coming up…

  6. James Says:

    I think I need to clarify further. Thomas Jefferson said that the election of 1800 was a revolution just as real as that of 1776. As long as we have a government that respects human rights (several of which are enshrined in our amended constitution) we can effect change at the ballot box. When government becomes despotic what other recourse do you have? What other recourse did the colonists have?

  7. James Williamson guest blog: Mitt Romney, Hispanics, and the Vice Presidential nominee « Buckeye RINO Says:

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