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America in
Chains

TOWARD AN INTERNATIONAL BILL OF RIGHTS UNION August 31, 2007

[Originally Prepared for Jews for the Preservation of
Firearms Ownership http://www.jpfo.org August 31, 2007]

The internet is an interesting thing. You can be communicating
with somebody across town today, somebody in another state tonight,
and somebody on the other side of the world tomorrow, all with equal
ease. In fact if their e-mail address doesn’t show it, and you don’t
know how to read that routing gobbledygook at the top of the message,
you can be doing one of those three things and not know which one it
is.

I guess that fits somebody’s definition of a Global Village.

The Village appears to be Global in more ways than just that.
People from various places around the world (the latest one was an
Australian) have pointed out to me that what’s going on politically in
the United States — the seemingly inexorable Nazification of a
once-free civilization — is going on practically everywhere else, as
well.

Sadly, it’s true. Almost every day the news is filled with clear
indications that — to any extent that they weren’t always that way —
governments everywhere around the world have suddenly gotten too big
for their breeches. Every day you read about the choke-chain being
tightened a little more around everybody’s throat. Fingerprint records
failed to violate the fundamental human right to privacy and anonymity
sufficiently, so now they’re planning to start taking DNA samples at
birth.

More and more spy cameras are going up everywhere every time you
turn around (Not-So-Great-Britain holds first place for that variety
of lunacy just now) and facial recognition software gets better and
better. Which is to say, from a freedom-friendly viewpoint, worse and
worse.

For a long time now we’ve all had to obtain — and often pay
dearly for — all sorts of permission from the government to do all
the ordinary things that living, and improving our lives, requires,
from owning and driving a car, to building and maintaining a house, to
keeping housepets. In Singapore, it’s illegal to be caught chewing
gum. A driver’s license, once a simple certificate of proficiency, now
threatens to become — as our credit cards and telephone records and
Internet activity have — a vile leash, an observer of everywhere we
go, everything we do, approved or not, and a potential witness against
us.

Meanwhile, politicians and bureaucrats positively ache to tattoo
our kids as if they were already the concentration camp inmates the
government plans for them to be someday. Or they want to inject radio
transponders under their skin — and how long will it be before such a
device can deliver a healthy shock if you won’t do whatever’s required
of you? Much that we buy today has been similarly lowjacked; virtually
all of our personal electronics have been redesigned to government
specifications to betray us whenever the government wishes to track us
down.

Everybody I discuss this situation with dislikes it intensely (I
don’t know that many “useful idiots”) but nobody appears to know what
to do about it. I do know that the only hope we have is the Internet,
but so do the badguys. New York’s Commissioner of Police has reported
that the InterNet is “the new Afghanistan” where Muslims are perfectly
free to radicalize American youth and turn them into terrorists. The
problem, he says, is that you can’t actually do anything about such
communication because, until a certain point, nobody has committed a
crime.

Apparently he wants to arrest people _before_ they commit a crime.
Wouldn’t it be infinitely better to teach — and behave consistently
with — a set of values that our kids couldn’t be talked out of by
anybody?

I’m just old enough so that I’ve heard every bit of this garbage
before — only the last time, it was the Communists who were going to
kill us and cook us and eat us. Of course the real threat to America
is the Commissioner, himself — and all of the other vicious parasites
like him who depend on human cowardice and stupidity to write their
paychecks — not his imaginary youth-radicalizing digital Muslims.
Listening to this man — giving him any credence or credibility at all
– is how the light of civilization starts to go out, all over the
world.

I have been thinking about politics — specifically, the politics
of individual liberty — for almost half a century and after all that
thinking, I am convinced of one thing. None of this would be happening
if the Founding Fathers hadn’t made one simple, fundamental, possibly
fatal mistake: not writing a stringent penalty clause into the Bill of
Rights.

Forget “stringent” — how about “draconian”?

If, for example, the first time Abraham Lincoln had attempted to
suspend the right of _habeas corpus_, or initiated an income tax or
military conscription, officers from the Department of Bill of Rights
Enforcement had frog-marched him out of his office in belly-chains,
manacles, and leg-irons, our subsequent history would have been very
different.

You can make up similar scenarios about politicians like Teddy
Roosevelt, who hated the Constitution because it got in the way of his
Progressive ambitions, or Woodrow Wilson, another Progressive, who
used World War I as an excuse to rape the Bill of Rights, or Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, who did much the same and more, including outlawing
the possession of gold, or Harry Truman, who killed a quarter of a
million individuals with a single signature and used the army to break
strikes, or Richard Nixon, who believed that firearms in private hands
are “an abomination”, or Lyndon Baines Johnson, who persecuted his
critics untill they killed themselves, and had people’s mail opened by
the post Office, or Jimmy Carter, either of the George Bushes, Bill
Clinton, or any of the other “great men” in our bloodsoaked history
who’ve based their “legacies” on using the Bill of Rights for toilet
paper.

If violating any of the first ten amendments to the Constitution
– even a little — meant they’d automatically be humiliated and
thrown into jail, they’d probably never have run for office in the
first place, and history would not have been the same at all.

Happily, I do know how to get from here to there in reasonably
short order, and that’s by organizing an International Bill Of Rights
Union.

There is plenty for such an organization to do. To begin with,
without without anybody’s help, you could go the the website of Jews
for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. At ,
you’ll find the Bill of Rights translated into _sixteen_ languages so
far. If you have an Aunt Bogdana, she might enjoy reading the Bill of
Rights translated into her native Romanian. Otherhandwise, if she’s
your Grandma Beliita, she might be like to translate it for JPFO into
Chechen.

You’ll also find an almost unknown Preamble to the Bill of Rights,
explaining that they were written and ratified because: ” … a number
of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution,
expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of
its powers … ” How strange: I never saw that in public school, did
you?

Members of an International Bill of Rights Union could seek the
adoption and reaffirmation, of the Bill of Rights at the state, county,
and municipal levels — or at the equivalent levels in other member
countries. The last time I counted, there were something like 3088
counties in this country, so the undertaking could go on for many
decades, during which everybody will come to a new appreciation of the
document.

Activists within an International Bill Of Rights Union might even
try persuading corporations — or any private organization (fraternal
groups, for example, whose members routinely start their meetings by
reciting the Pledge of Allegiance) — to adopt and affirm the Bill of
Rights.

Another worthy project would be a revision of the formal oath that
politicians are supposed to take before assuming office, to mention —
and perhaps even to read aloud — each article of the Bill of Rights
separately. Imagine the hilarity when Hillary or Chucky or Nancy or
Chris choke over the phrase “the right of the People to keep and bear
arms.”

The ultimate goal, however, of any International Bill Of Rights
Union must always be the correction of the Founding Fathers’ two
century old mistake by writing and ratifying an effectively stringent
penalty clause for politicians who violate the highest law of the
land.

An International Bill Of Rights Union should be based upon certain
principles. The first is that the Bill of Rights means what it says,
and not what some lawyer, judge, or socialist academic can twist it
into.

Judging by what we know of the Founding Fathers, the Bill of
Rights was clearly meant to be read and understood by everybody, not
just by those same lawyers, judges, and socialist academics who almost
invariably claim that it doesn’t mean what we all know perfectly well
it does.

The Bill of Rights must be subjected to no “interpretation” of any
kind except in terms of the original intent of the Founding Fathers,
a group of individuals had just barely defeated the most overbearing,
ruthless, and dangerously violent government in the history of the
world. Even the British people were having trouble with it at the
time.

The Bill of Rights represents an historic bargain between those
who advocated a strong central government — and whose political ideas
and wishes are expressed in the main body of the Constitution — and
those who did not. Without the Bill of Rights, the Constitution ceases
to be valid; any legitimate authority that derives from it ceases to
exist.

Importantly, there has never been any legal provision for setting
aside the Bill of Rights in an “emergency”. To do so is a violation of
a politician’s oath of office and a crime. Nor is it up to government
to regulate or limit the Bill of Rights the way that former Attorney
General John Ashcroft claimed could be done with regard to the Second
Amendment.

Ashcroft, you may recall, briefly made a big hero of himself (to
those who don’t think clearly or have a habit of grasping at straws)
when he announced that the Second Amendment does. indeed, protect an
individual right — which the government may regulate whenever it
feels an itch. That’s the same protection, I’m given to understand,
provided by the Canadian constitution, which says, yes, Canadians have
rights — subject to cancellation at their government’s slightest
whim.

Of course a regulated “right” isn’t any kind of a right at all; a
right is something that’s inherent simply in your existence as a human
being. A regulated “right” is nothing more than a government-granted
privilege you usually have to beg for, and may be taken back at any
time.

That, believe it or not, is the sole contention in the celebrated
Parker case, in which a lower court has ruled that Washington D.C.’s
handgun ban is an unconstitutional violation of an individual right
protected by the Second Amendment. Now the enemies of liberty — many
of them afraid, no doubt, that laws like New York’s Sullivan Act will
be next — are headed for the Supreme Court where they hope to see the
right to own and carry weapons converted back into a collectivized
privilege.

Another point: although many of us may have strong feelings with
regard to certain issues, an International Bill of Rights Union cannot
– must not — entangle itself with unrelated subjects (especially
those that have traditionally divided the general freedom movement)
like abortion, immigration, or global warming. It must always remain
on-topic: the adoption, affirmation, and enforcement of the Bill of
Rights.

But why, I now pretend to hear you asking, should the inhabitants
of other countries be interested in adopting the American Bill of
Rights?

In the first place, most of them are probably even more unhappy
with today’s newly-fascistic politics than Americans are, and more
interested in limiting the power of their politicians. Although we
often think of America as a young country, our 218-year-old Bill of
Rights is the political basis for one of the world’s oldest continuous
governments.

Individuals in other countries who understand economics know that
the Bill of Rights is the source — or at least a manifestation of the
source — of America’s historically unprecedented prosperity and
progress.

Properly respected, the Bill of Rights is a potential deterrent
both to runaway authority and runaway democracy. It’s also a far more
desirable alternative to — possibly a preventive or a remedy for —
the involuntary democratization and forcible “regime changes” that are
all the rage today. Thus, from a non-American viewpoint, it could help
to get the United States back under control again, which, in their
terms, means not dropping bombs on them or starving their children to
death.

Who needs a corrupt, freedom-hating United Nations cluttering the
political landscape? Who needs a European Union or a North American
Union? What the world truly needs is an International Bill of Rights
Union?

Some closing thoughts:

The Founding Fathers didn’t say that your church or your religion
must be recognized by the government before it’s real; the Founding
Fathers didn’t mean for some kinds of communications to be permissable
and others to be banned; the Founding Fathers didn’t say you need a
permit to get together, and then only under police supervision. They
said that we all have a right to worship, speak, and assemble as we
will.

Period.

The Founding Fathers didn’t say that the people have a right to
keep and bear arms — subject to regulation by the government — the
Founding Fathers, pure and simple, wanted us to own and carry weapons.
“Take a gun with you on every walk,” was the way Thomas Jefferson put
it.

Period.

The Founding Fathers didn’t say minions of the government could
search us if they were sufficiently sneaky about it, or that they
could search us if they didn’t touch us, or that they could search us
if we wanted to travel freely by whatever means. The Founding Fathers,
pure and simple, didn’t want the government to know what’s in our
pockets.

Period.

This essay has focused mostly on the United States, but we should
consider, for a moment, the effect a successful International Bill of
Rights Union might have in other places, too. Would Vladimir Putin or
the Russian Mafia still run Russia? Would Castro’s blabbermouth hand-
puppet, Hugo Chavez retain power in Venezuela? And what about the
heirs of Mao Tse Tung? The question need only be asked in order to be
answered.

And, given the fact that every major mass-atrocity in recent
history has been preceded by a period of weapons confiscation — as
opposed to the Second Amendment’s mandate for a universally armed
populace — it could mean there will never be another genocide, ever
again

If that seems like a good idea, and you’d like to do something to
make it happen, you might start by sending this essay to everybody you
know. We have a lot of work ahead of us, getting from here to there,
and we’re unlikely to see the end of it, ourselves, although if we do
our job right, our children or grandchildren will. And in a society
built on the Bill of Rights, a society of peace, prosperity, progress,
and above all, on freedom, maybe we’ll still be around to accept their
thanks.

Or maybe we’ll have taken off for the stars.

Comments

1. al perez - August 31, 2007

Either we teach the rest of the world to be free by example and word or they will teach us to be slaves, and content in our slavery to boot.
I have to vote for freedom.

2. Al Newberry - September 1, 2007

Great article, L. Neil.

3. al perez - September 6, 2007

This is as good a place as any to warn people.
The Us Border Patrol maintains check points along road ways leading from El Paso and other Border cities. They are looking for illegal aliens and drugs. They are sharing these check points with DEA.
Recently a person driving north into New Mexico had several thousand dollars taken from him by these DEA types on the grounds that he maybe might have by some remote chance possibly gotten this money from dealing drugs. They called it civil forfeiture. Several southern PD’s are pulling the same stunt. They are also seizing vehicles that can be used to transport contraband.
You don’t have to have contraband. You only have to have what some busy considers too much cash or a vehicle useful for transporting drugs to have your property confiscated, You do not even have to be charged, let alone convicted, to be legally robbed of your property and money under the current rules of civil forfeiture.
Pardon my language, but when the fuck did the American people decide it was okay for some corner cop to tell them how much money they could carry or what kind of car they could drive?
In any case, unless you want to start an armed insurrection out in the middle of nowhere, avoid carrying “excessive funds” or driving a “drug smuggler’s car” along any route through the Southwestern or Southern US. What’s the deal in Yankee country?
I bring this up here because it’s kind of hard to advocate spreading the Bill of Rights to other countries when it is so routinely and egregiously violated in the US.

4. al perez - September 7, 2007

“In any case, unless you want to start an armed insurrection…don’t …”
that statement in the above comment was meant as a warning to avoid looking for trouble, not encouragement to get into trouble.
Deliberately looking for a fight, even with frustrated wannabe Gestapo and Chekists, is a violation of the Zero Aggression Principle.
The moral right to self defense does not extended to baiting potential enemies. Besides those who are too spiritually scarred to bring over to our side can be trusted to start any fighting that is needed. Meanwhile we can be salvaging the most decent (and often most effective at their legitimate work, truth be told) of the members of the various local and Federal police forces to have as allies against those who support tyranny.

5. Jeffrey Sherretts - December 12, 2007

I’m in!!

My son’s high school is implementing random pocket searches. I told him that under no surcumstances is he to allow somebody elses hands in his pockets. What can I do on a larger scale to prevent this or to inform students that they don’t have to stand there and let hands enter their pockets?
My son was also seperated and questioned about a locker room incident. His phone was take fom him so he could not text other possible witnesses. He was not told that he did not have to assist.

Students have no idea that they actually have rights and as adults, they still won’t know.

Who do I go to for student’s rights???

6. Neil - December 12, 2007

….Unfortunately, the students’ rights situation is pretty bleak at
the moment, and has been for some time, long before 9/11 and Homeland
Security.

….Probably because kids can’t vote, judge after stupid, evil, and
insane judge has ruled that students have no Fourth and Fifth
Amendment rights, their lockers can be rifled through without any kind
of excuse, their cars are not their own, and, of course, the idea of
Second Amendment rights for kids (my particular hobbyhorse, and the
reason, I suspect, New York agents and publishers don’t want to touch
me with the proverbial ten-foot cattle prod) are completely beyond the
pale.

….Never forget that liberals, especially, are afraid of their own
children.

….It’s going to take a broad and deep international movement to
change things, and it’s especially difficult, since the population
we’re talking about here is constantly shifting as kids grow up and
are replaced by younger kids who are even less aware of their human
rights.

….I once had an idea for a regular department in _The Libertarian
Enterprise_ to be called “Libertarian Youth Underground”, but I can’t
write it myself — I’m working on three major projects just now, plus
two columns a week for JPFO — and I can’t find anybody else who wants
to.

….At one time I thought the son of a former editor would take the
idea and run with it, and more recently, my own daughter. But these
kids are all too busy living their lives, for which I can’t fault
them, to provide the regular pounding schools and the law need from
us. I do think that if we could launch and maintain a consistent
effort, other groups and publications would soon hop onto our
bandwagon. If we started first, then we could set the level of
dialogue.

….And the world would never be the same.

….The International Bill of Rights Union would be a good aegis under
which a libertarian youth movement could evolve. I can think of a
dozen worthy projects for it right now, and others would manifest
shortly. But the IBORU isn’t any more real right now than the youth
movement.

….So little time (and energy), so many things that need doing.

….If I had my way — and a million-dollar foundation — just now,
I’d buy a building and equip it as an office for both groups. From
there, we’d communicate with the world, send out press releases,
organize events, create “daughter” chapters everywhere, and produce
and distribute lots and lots of audio and visual material. I have a
building in mind, in fact, and I would be willing to ramrod the whole
thing, but I have writing obligations that must be fulfilled, and that
indeed, I _want_ to fulfill, as I love the act of writing in and of
itself.

….I even have a short list of stone-reliable folks who could do the
work, people who’ve labored long and hard for freedom without decent
compensation, people who could use a decent job in the cause of
freedom. The Democrats accommodate their people in this way (read
about Hillary “Polly Pot” Clinton’s foundation background), why can’t
we?

….I promised myself long ago that I would _never_ forget what it was
like to be a kid, under some pompous civil servant’s thumb. Things
were, relatively speaking, a lot better than than they are now. What I
would prescribe in the sort run is that your son and those who agree
with him let no violation of their rights go unprotested. They will be
threatened with sanctiobs, but ’twas ever thus. A snappy Nazi salute
with well-clicked heels and a jaunty “_Sieg Heil!_” while their things
are being seached might be a good beginning. It’ll take guts, but what
doesn’t?

….It’s possible that a long-lasting effect of the Ron Paul campaign might
be as a jumping-off point for all of this, since it seems to be dominated
by rather young people who are “mad as hell and not going to take it any
more”.

….And there are always bumper stickers, t-shorts, and other such
things for the authorities to publicly embarrass themselves by
banning.

….For my part, with the help of my readers and writers at _TLE_,
we’ll try to do more on the issue of childrens’ rights and the evil
schools. Maybe I’ll turn this commentary into a lead article over
there. Sorry that’s all I can promise right now. The rest depends on
others