"When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, individual liberty is at stake."---Justice Kennedy, Supreme Court, Bond v. United States (564 U.S. __ (2011)) |
Over the past few months, I have been studying various papers written by the Federalists and Anti-federalist who bickered back-and-forth in the newspapers concerning whether or not the Constitution of the United States should be adopted. In case you were unaware, the Federalists were the "good guys" who won and got the Constitution accepted. The Anti-federalists were the "bad guys" who only succeeded in getting that useless Bill of Rights added to the Constitution.
The most notable Anti-federalist were Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Mason. There were many others that wrote about the problems with the Constitution under various pseudonyms, such as Brutus and Cato. Many people of the time had a fair idea of who they were by their style of writing and the newspapers in which their writing appeared.
When people speak of the "Federalists Papers," they are usually referring to those written by the top three; John Jay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. There were others, though, that wrote under other pseudonyms.
While searching for information concerning this argument, I happened across a file that I downloaded on my computer from Project Gutenberg some months ago. The original was edited by Paul Leicester Ford and published in 1892. After receiving a copy, I set about to continue editing the book. The very first series of papers included in this volume were rather stunning. Thus, I have decided to share my book learnin' with you.
The first series of letters were written under the name of Cassius and accredited to James Sullivan of Massachusetts. He was the 7th governor of Massachusetts. He was Irish and on that count I will simply relate that he spoke his mind. He was defiantly a Federalist. He wrote a series of eleven articles. The first seven articles were a scathing review of the opinions of Anti-federalists. In particular, Numa, Vox Populi---or rather Vox Insania---and Agrippa. His writing shows that he had a certain disdain for each of these individuals who e'er they were.
In his first paper, he called Numa a coward. "The people know their rulers, and have confidence in them: and can it be supposed, that they would have confidence in those, whose dastardly souls, in time of danger, shrunk back from the scene of action, and kept secure in their strong holds? and when peace and independence had crowned the exertions of far more noble souls, they groped out of darkness and obscurity, and intruded themselves into places of power and trust?"
In his seventh paper he questions the bravery of all Anti-Federalists. "Look around you, inhabitants of America! and see of what characters the anti-federal junto are composed. Are any of them men of that class, who, in the late war, made bare their arms and girded on the helmet in your defence? few, very few indeed, of the antifederalists, are men of this character."
As far as I can tell, James Sullivan left the fighting in the War of Independence to his older brother General John Sullivan. He was elected to represent Massachusetts in the Continental Congress, but never attended.
He compared the "antifederalist sycophants" of the "antifederalist junto" to the Jesuits of the Catholic Church who have been accused of all sorts of crimes against humanity throughout history. Perhaps, rightly so. To begin his second paper, he writes, "To Numa's long list of evils, which he says, in some of his productions, are prevalent in the commonwealth, he might have added, that when priests became Jesuits, the liberties of the people were in danger in almost all countries, we shall find, that when sedition and discontent were brewing, Political Jesuits were often at the bottom of the affair."
In his fourth paper, he writes, "I have before hinted, that the opposers of the plan of federal government are composed of knaves, harpies and debtors;...." He actually did more than hint at that. He writes concerning Vox, "I am induced to suppose Vox Populi was an adherent of the celebrated Shays,..." Shay refers to Shay's Rebellion quashed by the militia of Massachusetts raised for that purpose. Daniel Shay was a Continental Army soldier who was wounded and forced to retire to find himself in court for non-payment of debt. Ironically, it is credited as being one of the points that helped the ratification process of the Constitution.
In his third paper adding, "The plan of federal government is fraught with every thing favourable to your happiness, your freedom and your future welfare:...." I do not think that he meant "welfare" as we know it today. For he wrote of Vox Populi, "...if the federal government is adopted, we shall not have occasion to employ the legislature so great a part of the year as we are now obliged to do; of consequence, government will be able to apply their money to better uses than paying antifederalists, while they are spreading their poisonous vapours through the already too much infected atmosphere."
His final statement before he actually starts reviewing the Constitution is interesting. At the end of his seventh paper, Sullivan points out, "You certainly cannot harbour an idea so derogatory to reason and the nature of things, as that men, who, for eight years, have fought and struggled, to obtain and secure to you freedom and independence, should now be engaged in a design to subvert your liberties and reduce you to a state of servitude. Reason revolts at the thought, ... and none but the infamous incendiary, or the unprincipled monster, would insinuate a thing so vile." You might want to read that particular paragraph once more.
These "...patriots in theory..." were certainly no Washington or Franklin.
Now that we are aware that Jefferson, Mason, and Henry were debtors and Political Jesuits, Mr. Sullivan treats us to the virtues of the federal government in his last four papers. We will examine the highlights of those virtues now.
WE DON' NEED NO STINKIN' BILL OF RIGHTS.
One point made by the antifederalists was that individual rights were not specifically spelled out in this document. Like Hamilton (no surprise there) and Madison, Sullivan reviled an inalienable "Bill of Rights." The Federalist argument was that was ridiculous because everyone knew their rights. Virtually everyone in the nation had read the Declaration of Independence. The estimated 2% that could not read had it read to them. The founders did not reckon on a Department of Education and government unions. Both of which are unconstitutional. If amendments specified certain rights, would Congress not trample on those rights not specified in this so-called Bill of Rights? In fact that very argument made by Sullivan was the reason for the existence of the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution.
In his eighth paper, Sullivan points out that a government that would violate the Constitution would have little conscience in adhering to a Bill of Rights. "The representatives of the people would also be conscious, that their good conduct alone, would be the only thing which could influence a free people to continue to bestow on them their suffrages: the representatives of the people would not, moreover, dare to act contrary to the instructions of their constituents; and if any one can suppose that they would, I would ask them, why such clamour is made about a bill of rights, for securing the liberties of the subject? for if the delegates dared to act contrary to their instructions, would they be afraid to encroach upon a bill of rights? If they determined among themselves to use their efforts to effect the establishment of an aristocratical or despotick government, would a bill of rights be any obstacle to their proceedings? If they were guilty of a breach of trust in one instance, they would be so in another."
In his final paper, Cassius declares, "Say, ye mighty cavillers, ye inconsistent opposers of the new plan of government, of what avail, to the thinking part of the community, do you suppose will be all your clamours about a bill of rights? Does not the abovementioned section provide for the establishment of a free government in all the states? and if that freedom is encroached upon, will not the constitution be violated? It certainly will; and its violators be hurled from the seat of power, and arraigned before a tribunal where impartial justice will no doubt preside, to answer for their high-handed crime."
While the Sixth Circuit Court ruled that the individual mandate is within the bounds of the "Interstate Commerce Clause," (which seems to know no bounds), a Senior Judge sitting with the 6th Court of Appeals noted in his dissent, "The ultimate issue in this case is this: Does the notion of federalism still have vitality? To approve the exercise of power would arm Congress with the authority to force individuals to do whatever it sees fit, as long as the regulation concerns an activity or decision that, when aggregated, can be said to have some loose, but-for type of economic connection, which nearly all human activity does. Such a power feels very much like the general police power that the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States and the people. A structural shift of that magnitude can be accomplished legitimately only through constitutional amendment."
This dissent was addressed in the recent Supreme Court case of Bond v. United States in which it was decided that an individual State citizen could evoke the Tenth Amendment citing a separation of State and federal powers in their court case. "The limitations that federalism entails are not therefore a matter of rights belonging only to the States. States are not the sole intended beneficiaries of federalism. ... An individual has a direct interest in objecting to laws that upset the constitutional balance between the National Government and the States when the enforcement of those laws causes injury that is concrete, particular, and redressable," wrote Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion. There were no dissenters.
"But in the name of common sense I would ask, of what use would be a bill of rights, in the present case?... It can only be to resort to when it is supposed that Congress have infringed the unalienable rights of the people: but would it not be much easier to resort to the federal constitution, to see if therein power is given to Congress to make the law in question? If such power is not given, the law is in fact a nullity, and the people will not be bound thereby," Sullivan clarified.
There are eighteen very specific powers given to the federal government in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States of America. They are using a twisted definition of Clause 3 of Section 8---the so-called "Interstate Commerce Clause"---to defend their "duty" to destroy your natural rights despite their oath we will examine presently.
THE CONSTITUTION DEFENDS OUR DEMOCRACY?
I enjoy challenging anyone to find the word "democracy" in the Constitution. "Our American tradition is based on Democracy," one might argue. You would be wrong.
First off, there is a big difference between Locke Democracy and the slavery of Marxist Democracy. All of the "democratic" principles that have been instituted in the United States are from the Manifesto of the Communist Party. I do not need to hear your contemptible reply to that statement to simply reply that you need to read the Manifesto of the Communist Party. It is replete with democratic principles. Except, nothing belongs to you. Not even your family. Everything belongs to the State.
This is the area in which Mr. Sullivan shines. In just about every one of his papers he flourishes the Republicanism of the Constitution. He reminds us that each of our government officials are bound by an oath or affirmation to support and defend the Constitution. Including the President.
"Section I, of article II. further provides, That the president shall, previous to his entering upon the duties of his office, take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. Thus we see that instead of the president's being vested with all the powers of a monarch, as has been asserted, that he is under the immediate controul of the constitution, which if he should presume to deviate from, he would be immediately arrested in his career and summoned to answer for his conduct before a federal court, where strict justice and equity would undoubtedly preside," he writes of the executive.
In a discussion of Section IV, he reminds us that all of our elected officials are required to be bound by this oath or affirmation to support the Constitution.
"Thus, my fellow-citizens," Sullivan writes, "we see that our rulers are to be bound by the most sacred ties, to support our rights and liberties, to secure to us the full enjoyment of every privilege which we can wish for; they are bound by the constitution to guarantee to us a republican form of government in its fullest extent; and what is there more that we can wish for?"
Why is this important? He embarrasses the Anti-Federalist by prominently pointing out that, "Section 4, of article IV, says, The United States shall guarantee to every state in the Union a Republican Form of Government;..." That, incidentally, precludes initiatives and referendums.
"The weakness of the anti-federalists, in regard to the point just mentioned, sufficiently shews their delinquency with respect to rational argument. They have done nothing more than barely to assert, that the representation would not be sufficient:...," Sullivan writes in his seventh. The papers of Brutus, however, do more than barely assert that fact. Brutus takes great pains in explaining why representation is insufficient in his fourth Anti-Federalist paper.
WHAT ABOUT STATES' RIGHTS?
If Mr. Sullivan were alive today, he would not be on a list at the Department of Homeland Security. Remember that he struggled to remind us that a Bill of Rights---including a Tenth Amendment---was unnecessary. Only those who espouse the virtues of the Tenth Amendment are invited to the federal profile lists maintained by the Department of Homeland Security which, I suppose, must now include eight of the justices of the Supreme Court who voted for Bond.
Mr. Sullivan's assessment of States' Rights? "One great object of the federal Convention was, to give more power to future Assemblies of the States. In this they have done liberally, without partiallity to the interests of the states individually; and their intentions were known before the honourable body was dissolved."
I could go on with Mr. Sullivan's assessments. Fortunately, we have gone beyond such vitriol in political discussion today.
My intent was to whet your appetite to review this series of letters. More importantly, I hope that I have whetted your appetite to study all of these letters and the very documents they elude to. The younger you are, the better. You have more time to understand just what rights you are losing. It is important for you to learn exactly what your rights are. In this way, you know what slavery is all about.
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