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Consent of the Governed? Time for Long Look in the Mirror
by Paul Markel
It is no stretch of the imagination that the current political climate is more divisive than it has ever been in modern times. As a nation, we have always had competing parties in our government. However, like a family that argues amongst itself, when an external threat materialized, historically we put aside partisan issues and united. That was the way our parents and grand-parents were raised. Republican or Democrat, we were all on the same team, the same big family. When you are raised that way it's hard to imagine or even conceive anything else.
Because of this innate belief that we are on the same team, regardless of which party is in charge, people assume that the business of the country, to include keeping it safe and the people free, will perpetually be addressed. To assert otherwise puts you in the paranoid or conspiratorial category.
Despite the current hard economic times, Americans live some of the most comfortable lives of any human beings on the planet. We've come to equate personal comfort with human rights. If I'm uncomfortable, someone is surely violating my rights. This comfort has led to slothful mental and physical lethargy. Far too many citizens are willfully ignorant of the world around them. They are woefully uneducated or "under-educated" regarding the founding principles of this nation, the original intent and the limitations of government. For far too many, the government is the great benefactor and arbiter of fairness.
Long Hard Look in the Mirror
Even a quick perusal of the pamphlets, letters, and documents put forth during the time United States was founded will affirm that it was the intent of those who fought, bled, and sacrificed all that those in government must operate only under the consent of the people. The term "consent of the governed" is laced through the founding documents, most notably, the Declaration of Independence.
If you consider yourself a modern patriot, a lawful citizen of the United States, and are genuinely concerned with the course this nation is taking, it is time for a long hard look in the mirror. You must ask yourself, are our current government bodies, local, state, and federal, operating within the "consent of the governed"? Put forth for consideration are a few facts to ponder as you formulate an answer.
Facts, not Fiction
The Internal Revenue Service has been granted the authority to seize personal property, including money, without a warrant, based upon the individual judgment of the agent involved (1). Realistically translated, an IRS agent can seize every penny in your bank account without a warrant from a judge and before any charges are levied against you. This would seem a bit contrary to the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights (2).
Under the guise of the enhanced security, agents from the Transportation Security Administration without your knowledge or approval can cut the locks off of your suitcase, rifle through your personal affects, remove any property they personally deem unacceptable and leave a quaint postcard in the case telling you they were there. It happens every day. The locks are your property as is the suitcase. No probable cause or warrant is issued. No compensation for loss is offered (2).
Again, using the security excuse, TSA agents put their hands down the pants of a three year old little girl (3) and a six year old girl (4) in separate documented cases. After a public outcry U.S. Government spokesmen defended the actions of the agents as "appropriate" and "necessary". Once more, see the 4th Amendment. (2)
A veteran service member, Brandon Raub, was forcibly removed from his home, arrested and held in a mental institution without the filing of charges or an arrest warrant issued by a judge. (5) His offense was posting comments on the Internet that were sharply critical of the government. Please see the Bill of Rights Amendment 1 and 4 (2). A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation justified the actions of government agents, citing security reasons.
The U.S. Supreme court, those charged with checking and balancing the legislative branch, upheld and affirmed the Affordable Care Act, "Obamacare", an act that forces individual citizens of the fifty states to meet the health insurance requirements enacted by the U.S. Federal Government or face fines and penalties. See the Bill of Rights Amendment 10 (2).
By passing HR 347 the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011" the U.S. Government has now made it unlawful and illegal, not just to trespass in a public building but, to protest in any area that may be temporarily visited by an elected official who may be afforded Secret Service protection. If your actions are deemed "disruptive" by agents on the scene you are in violation of the law (7). It would seem that this act may nullify the 1st Amendment clause to "...peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances." (2).
Finally, one of the most recent actions took place under cover of darkness and without any public debate. The Governor of the State of New York and both state houses proposed and voted into law the "Safe Act" further curtailing the rights of lawful citizens in said state to own firearms and accessories for said arms. The bill's passage creates an "ex post facto" provision whereas possession of some items was legal before the passage and illegal after. Section 1, Article 9, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution states that "No Bill of Attainder or Ex Post Facto law shall be passed" (6). Also, see Bill of Rights Amendment 2 (2). Again, the act was put forth under the guise of public safety.
To surmise, under the pretext of "public safety" the current government has granted itself the authority to seize your property and molest your children without warrant or probable cause. If you post criticism of the government on the Internet you can be arrested and held without warrant or criminal charges. Own a firearm or accessory for a firearm that the government does not approve? You can be arrested, fined and jailed. Don't like any of the above and gather in a public place to protest or seek redress of grievances? If you are deemed to be "disruptive" and an elected official is nearby you may be arrested forthwith.
Most assuredly the list could go on, but the aforementioned factual examples speak for themselves. If after your long hard look in the mirror and the consideration of these few examples you still believe that you are dwelling in a country that is operated under the consent of the governed please feel free to carry on with your day.
What to do?
If, however, you come to your own conclusion that we have devolved into another state, one where citizens must order their lives in accordance to the consent of the Government you must ask yourself additional hard questions. Just what are you willing to do about it? Will you educate yourself, your family and your friends? Will you pay closer attention to the world around you and vow to hold your elected officials responsible for their behavior and that of the civil servants each time to go to the ballot box? Or, will you simple shrug your shoulders and carry on in blind faith? Act or don't, you still have made a choice.
Markel is a lifelong shooter, trained instructor and host of Student of the Gun (www.StudentoftheGun.com).
Republished from The Outdoor Wire.