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What's a government to do?

By Henry Lamb
web posted May 10, 2010

The government of the United States of America exists for one purpose, according to the Declaration of Independence:  to secure the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, endowed to every individual by their Creator.  The people who adopted this profound declaration knew only too well the heavy weight of government oppression.  In addition to declaring the purpose of the government they were creating, they wrote and adopted another document: the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Declaration of Independence declares the purpose of government; the Constitution declares the source and limit of power entrusted to the new government by its creators.

From the outset, there have been people who disagreed with the underlying philosophy on which the Declaration and Constitution were constructed, but they were distinctly in the minority for the first century or so.  In the last half-century, this paradigm – and the purpose of government – has been shifting.

The purpose of government is no longer to "secure the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for every individual.  The purpose of government today is to dictate to every individual what he may or may not do, and to impose a fee for the privilege of doing it.

The people who created the United States wanted their government to defend them from invading enemies who might inflict bodily harm and steal their property.  They wanted a system of law that dealt justice equally to all who would dare harm or damage their neighbors.  They wanted a system of standard weights and measures and money to facilitate free and fair trade among the people. 

The people who created the United States did not want their government involved in their personal affairs.  In fact, the Constitution says quite explicitly that no government official may enter the private property of an individual without a warrant signed by a judge, after a sworn affidavit of probable cause of a crime.  

No one remembers the first time the federal government ignored this limitation of power and sent an official into private property without a warrant for whatever purpose seemed justified at the moment.  Now, no one questions the Environmental Protection Agency official who can show up on your property to declare that the ditch you are digging is polluting the waters of the United States.

Most employees of the Department of Agriculture – and too many in Congress – believe that government has every right to send its agents onto a private farm to count the number of livestock animals, to retrieve all sorts of information about the source, age, and movements of these animals, and to require the owner to report his activities to the government on a regular basis.

 The Constitution was not amended; how did the government gain all this new, unspecified power?

While government honors the Constitutional prohibition from entering private property without a properly executed warrant, the people are in control of government.  The moment government successfully violates this limitation - government is in control of the people.

Neither the federal, state, nor local governments pay any attention at all to this Constitutional limitation.  Since the 1990s, a tidal wave of "Sustainable Development" has swept across the nation leaving in its wake so-called "Sustainable Communities" that are in reality, cages that contain people who must live precisely as government dictates. 

Sustainable Communities are defined by comprehensive plans, often mandated by state government through laws prescribed and incentivized by the federal government.  Typically, these comprehensive plans mandate the adoption of a series of "International Codes" which set forth requirements that must be met by private owners.  Failure to conform to these requirements can mean fines, jail, and even the confiscation of property. 

How does a nation of people thirsting for freedom so fervently that they were willing to fight the King of England to win it, move to a nation of people who allow its government to impose far more onerous taxes and living restrictions than the King of England ever did?  Not only does this nation now allow its government to impose these unauthorized powers, many people celebrate the new "sustainable" (read: government-managed) society.

The moment the United States government gained and began to exercise control over its people is the moment the United States began its descent.  The nation is no longer the sum total of the pursuit of happiness of its individuals, but is becoming the managed product of the current power brokers. 

The moment the people realize that government control is extinguishing their freedom is the moment revolution is kindled.  This moment occurred the first time in 1776.  The threat of the loss of freedom to foreign powers produced overwhelming responses in the last century.  The current threat of the loss of freedom to well-meaning central planners will – sooner or later – have to answer to, and finally yield to the unstoppable power of free people. ESR

Henry Lamb is the author of "The Rise of Global Governance,"  Chairman of Sovereignty International , and founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) and Freedom21, Inc.






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