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The war on "unalienable rights"
By Charles Bloomer
The current power grab by the federal government characterized as campaign finance reform serves as the latest example of the government's war on the rights of American citizens. The campaign finance reform being pursued in the McCain/Feingold/Shays/Meehan legislation is blatantly unconstitutional in its attempt to stifle political speech protected by the first amendment. This reform makes it illegal for advocacy groups or non-candidate individuals to run ads that are critical of a candidate in the 60 day period prior to a federal election, or to criticize proposed legislation during the same period. The "finance" part of the reform eliminates so-called "soft money" contributions to political parties for party building and agenda development. So, in the guise of removing corruption in our political process, our elected officials are trampling our right to free speech.
We should not be surprised by this undeclared War on Free Speech. Attacks on constitutionally protected rights have accelerated in the past fifty years and are now a normally accepted practice in the halls of congress, in the Oval Office, and in the Supreme Court. The War on Free Speech joins other political wars that have nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with control.
The War on Free Speech is another battlefront in a larger war on our rights. For the past 30 years or so we have had a War on Freedom of Religion, conducted by the advocates of a mythical "wall of separation". These advocates seem to think that the Establishment Clause of the first amendment, that congress cannot establish an official state religion, trumps the second part of the clause that says that congress may not prohibit the free exercise of religion. The absurd lengths these advocates will go to prevent any expression of religion in any kind of public setting is exemplified in a recent case in which church/state separation advocates wanted a school system to stop a 5-year-old girl from saying grace before she ate her lunch.
This country is also engaged in a War on Self-Defense. Of course, the intrepid warriors do not claim to be against self-defense, they are merely opposed to efficient means of self-defense, specifically the use of guns. Defenders of the second amendment, the amendment that guarantees that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, are opposed by a irrational, emotional crowd that has no use for facts. Gun control advocates have repeated the same lies and discredited evidence without shame for years, and continue to do so today. If there is any doubt about the deceitful tactics of the gun control fanatics, take a look at the current debate concerning concealed carry legislation in Missouri. Emotional, overwrought gun grabbers recite the same mantra about turning their state in a modern Dodge City, with gun battles after every fender-bender, despite the fact that 36 states now have laws that allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons and no blood bath has resulted.
The War on Drugs contains subsets that include the battle of illegal search and seizure, and the battle of due process. However well intentioned, War on Drugs has led the government and its agents to believe that the greater good is evidently served by ignoring the fourth and fifth amendments. No-knock raids and warrantless searches have become numerous occurrences in the government's effort to protect us from ourselves.
The complete evisceration of the tenth amendment has been accomplished by a War on the States, leaving state governors as little more than elected welfare queens, waiting with their hands out as they beg for federal handouts.
A War on Private Property is perpetuated through land grabbing measures such as the Endangered Species Act, Wetlands Protection, Executive Orders, and other land use regulations.
This list of Wars is not intended to be complete or comprehensive. What this list shows is that the government has lost sight of the limitations imposed on it by the constitution. It also indicates that the government believes, either through ignorance or by design, that rights are granted by the government and, therefore, those rights can be taken away by the government.
This misguided belief that the government is the fount of freedom is a direct affront to the founding principles of our nation. The constitution is not the source of American rights, it is a specific, direct guarantee of our rights and a limitation of the government's ability to infringe upon or limit those rights. The Declaration of Independence states that men have "unalienable rights, endowed by their Creator". Some of those rights are specifically delineated in the Bill of Rights. Being endowed by a higher authority, those rights cannot be taken away by any government.
The War on our unalienable rights is a War on the Constitution, the same constitution that every elected official, every judge, every bureaucrat is sworn to uphold and defend. It's time for them to honor their oath, and for us to hold them accountable.
Charles Bloomer is a Senior Writer for Enter Stage Right. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2002 Charles Bloomer
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