My continuing Act of Civil Disobedience and WHY:

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Jan 212021
 
President Donald Trump

by Elizabeth Morris

I will continue to refer to our elected Commander-in-Chief as President Donald J. Trump. I will refer to the person currently sitting in the office as Joe Biden, and his running mate as Kamala Harris – with no titles – because neither currently holds elected office.

That is, obviously, a very mild form of Civil Disobedience. But under the current vindictive and threatening environment – it is the safest act I can perform. But even a mild stand such as this, in the current environment, can bring a person trouble – as any suggestion the election was stolen is grounds for punishment.

That said, recognizing that Donald J. Trump is our elected President also means I will not obey executive orders signed by Joe Biden, who has no elected authority to institute executive orders. The executive orders signed by our elected president Donald Trump continue to be the legal authority.

Constitutionally, Congress had no choice but to certify the state’s election results. Nevertheless, that does not make Joe Biden the elected president. If President Trump in fact received the votes necessary to win the individual states – then he is, in fact, the elected president. Based on the sworn, eye-witness testimony of hundreds of poll workers and poll watchers from November 3rd on – testimony the main stream media purposefully ignored and did not allow the general public to see – there is more than enough evidence that “irregularities,” if not outright fraud, took place.

This is the evidence that several states and federal legislators were acting upon when they protested the election. These legislators are now being vilified for acting upon the evidence they were shown. They are being punished for believing and standing up for their constituents – some of whom showed documented evidence.

NO, Joe Biden – there can be no unity with this. Not ever.

Unfortunately, the state legislatures did NOT understand the Constitutional power and authority they had over the electoral votes. Neither did President Trump’s legal team fully understand. The courts were not the venue for the battle. The state legislatures were. In fact – the state legislatures have full constitutional authority – NOT the governors. The state legislatures did NOT have to have permission from the governor to hold a special session with regard to electoral votes.

Please read the opinion of constitutional authority and Senior Advisor to the Convention of States, Rob Natelson1, on the issue:

Natelson also wrote this article:

AND – here is another article Natelson wrote on the subject, in question and answer format:

Q&A for state legislators and citizens: The Constitution and how to settle the election

By: Rob Natelson|Published on: Nov 18, 2020|Categories: Constitution, Elections, Electoral College

Irregularities in the presidential election returns of six states have sparked the question “What next?” The states are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Should their state legislatures intervene? Confusing the issue are media and other claims that are dead wrong.

This column corrects the mistakes and clarifies duties and options.

Why the mistakes? Many in the media are strongly motivated to secure the election of Joe Biden—or, more accurately, the defeat of Donald Trump. They have been uncurious about alleged election irregularities or how the Constitution and federal law address presidential election deadlocks.

Even most experts are unfamiliar with this subject. On average, law school constitutional law courses spend 2/3 of their time on two percent of the Constitution (the 1st Amendment and two sections of the 14th) and largely ignore the presidential election process. Most law professors are unaware of the Constitution’s presidential election rules or the history behind them.

Now some questions and answers:

Q.Why are state legislatures involved?

A. You don’t learn this in school, but the Founders put the state legislatures near the heart of the political system. So much so that during the public debates over ratification of the Constitution, one of the most popular pro-Constitution writers (Tench Coxe) affirmed (pdf) that once the Constitution was ratified, ultimate sovereignty would lodge in a combination of state legislatures and state conventions.

Q. How is that relevant to presidential elections?

A. The Constitution gives state legislatures power to determine how electors are appointed. This power was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court this year in Chiafolo v. Washington (pdf). The Court held that state legislatures not only control choice of electors but can even direct them how to vote.

Q. Are there roles for Congress in the presidential election system?

A. Yes. One is that the Constitution’s Same Day Clause or Presidential Vote Clause (Art. II, Sec. 1, cl. 4) authorizes Congress to select a uniform national day for voting by presidential electors and a (necessarily uniform) national time for voting for president electors. Congress has responded with legislation whose current version was enacted in 1948: December 14 for voting by electors (3 U.S. Code §7) and November 3 for voting for electors (id., §1).

Q. But this year many people voted by mail and the balloting continued over weeks . . .

A. Yes, and that was a violation of both the Same Day Clause and federal law. Some of the election irregularities were those the Same Day Clause was adopted to prevent.

Q. So, where does the state legislature come in?

A. Federal law, 3 U.S.C., § 2, recognizes state legislatures’ continuing power to choose electors after November 3 if the election on that date fails. It reads:

“Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.”

Q. Is that relevant to all states this year?

A. No—only to the six states with contested elections. Investigations over the next few weeks may show that preliminary results in some of these states are accurate. Then the law will apply only to states (if any) where the results remain helplessly muddled.

Q. How do lawmakers learn if claims of irregularities are true?

A. They should see how the lawsuits challenging the election unfold in their states over the next few days and weeks. I also recommend that legislative committees hold hearings of their own.

Q. To overturn an election, do you have to show fraud?

A. No. Any irregularities altering the results may be sufficient. These include (1) election officials treating different votes in different ways, in violation of the 14th amendment (Bush v. Gore, pdf), (2) changing election procedures during or after the election—or before the election in a way that confuses voters, and (3) even innocent mistakes, including software or machine errors.

Q. I read an article saying that fraud is sufficient to upend an election, and that there is no need to show it changed the result. Is this correct?

A. No. A court is unlikely to set an election aside if the results would have been the same anyway.

Q. If a state legislature finds that the results are hopelessly muddled, what should it do?

A. The principal options are (1) call a special election limited to presidential electors only or (2) choose the electors itself. Some may gripe about a quick election repeat, but successive elections are common in some other democratic countries.

Q. Is it true that only the governor may call the legislature into special session?

A. It is true in some states. Of course, this is no problem if the governor is cooperative. Some state constitutions allow a petition signed by a certain number of lawmakers to call a special session.

Q. My state’s law says only the people, not the legislature, can choose electors. State law further requires a 60-day notice period before a special election. Doesn’t this prevent our state lawmakers from acting even if federal law would seem to authorize them to do so?

A. No. If the legislature can come into session it may—either with gubernatorial cooperation or by a veto-proof majority—change the laws as necessary and allow the people to vote.

Q. What if the governor is not cooperative and there is no veto-proof majority?

A. Then the legislature may call itself into session and choose the electors itself.

Q. Huh?

A. This is one of those things not taught in law school. Here’s the background:

The Constitution delegates power to federal departments and officials. But it also assigns responsibilities to persons and entities outside the federal government. These persons and entities include state governors, presidential electors, convention delegates, voters, jurors—and state legislatures. The courts refer to the exercise of these responsibilities as “federal functions.” (See my forthcoming article on the subject in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law.)

When the Constitution assigns responsibility to the “state legislature,” it may mean either the state’s entire legislative apparatus, including the governor, or the representative assembly standing alone, without the governor.

Q. Go on . . . .

A. The Constitution gives state legislatures power to regulate federal elections. In this case, the delegation is to the entire legislative process including the governor. Ariz. State Legislature v. Ariz. Independent Redistricting Comm’n. (pdf). But when state legislatures act in the constitutional amendment process or elect functionaries themselves, they act alone, without gubernatorial involvement.

Q. For example?

A. Before the 17th amendment, the state legislatures elected U.S. Senators, and the governor had no say in the matter. Choice of presidential electors is almost certainly subject to the same rule. Federal law seems to recognize this when it provides, “Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed . . . in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.” Surely Congress did not expect the legislature to go through the entire law-making process in a constricted period of time. It contemplated the legislature choosing the electors itself or setting up an expedited process.

Q. Okay, but if the state constitution says only the governor can call a special session, how can the legislature call itself into session?

A. When a state legislature exercises a “federal function,” its power comes directly from the U.S. Constitution, and it is not bound by state rules. The judiciary has said this repeatedly. The leading case is the Supreme Court decision in Leser v. Garnett (pdf), written by the celebrated justice, Louis Brandeis.

Q. Of the six contested states, all but Nevada have Republican-controlled legislatures. I’ve heard it suggested that they not choose electors at all. That way, neither Trump nor Biden will have 270 electors (a majority of the whole number of 538), forcing a run-off election in the House of Representatives. Although the Democrats will have a slim majority in the new House, the GOP will hold a majority of state delegations. Since presidential voting in the House is by state, it will elect Trump.

A. The suggestion is unwise. First, state lawmakers would, justifiably, take at least as much political heat for simply punting as for calling a new election or choosing the electors.

Second, the 12th amendment says that only if no presidential candidate receives “a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed” does the election go to the House. If none of the five contested states with Republican legislatures appoints electors, then there will be only 465 “Electors appointed.” If, as is almost certain, Nevada goes for Biden, then that would give him 233 votes—a majority of 465. No House run-off.

If fewer than five Republican legislatures abstain, then Biden will win the remaining states, and with them the Presidency.

Q. So what should state lawmakers do in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin?

A. Ignore the media gaslighting and exercise their constitutional responsibilities. Monitor the state election challenges closely. If no clear winner appears in, say, two more weeks, then either call a snap election using old-fashioned paper ballots in fixed polling locations or, if the governor does not cooperate, call themselves into session and choose the state’s presidential electors. In the latter case, lawmakers can blame it all on the uncooperative governor. Remember that the process has to be complete before the electors meet on December 14.

This column first appeared in the Epoch Times.

Tags: Election 2020, Elections, Electoral College, state legislature

  1. Rob Natelson: In private life, Rob Natelson is a long-time conservative/free market activist, but professionally he is a constitutional scholar whose meticulous studies of the Constitution’s original meaning have been repeatedly cited in U.S. Supreme Court opinions and published or cited by many top law journals (See: https://i2i.org/author/rob/) He co-authored The Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause (Cambridge University Press) and The Original Constitution (Tenth Amendment Center). He was a law professor for 25 years and taught constitutional law and related courses. He is the Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at Colorado’s Independence Institute.

———————

Elizabeth Morris is the administrator of the ‘Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare’ – a national non-profit she and her husband, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa tribe, founded in 2004.  Ms. Morris has been writing, lobbying, and advocating on issues related to federal Indian policy since 1995 and is currently working on her PhD in Public Policy: Social Policy.

Ms. Morris graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Interdisciplinary Studies: Government and Policy, Communication, and Health Science magna cum laude in August 2016 and earned her Master of Arts in Public Policy with Distinction in July 2019.  Her Master Thesis is titled: “The Philosophical Underpinnings and Negative Consequences of the Indian Child Welfare Act.’

Ms. Morris also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries; Associate of Science (Registered Nurse), a Diploma of Bible & Missions, and is the author of the book, ‘Dying in Indian Country.’

Why we have the Electoral College

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Dec 272020
 

In most states, business owners who own a Public Service Commission license are required to serve citizens in every corner of their counties.  This, obviously, is because certain areas of the counties – due to distance or other factors – might not be as profitable to support, but need service nonetheless.  So the State mandates service to meet the needs of even the far flung.

That is essentially what the forefathers did when designing the process for electing the president. Although the 13 States had suffered together under British monarchy, they had never been united. They were each governed independent of one another, with their own laws and customs.  While most of the colonists wanted to come out from under the British tyranny and knew they needed some type of unity for defense against England and other foreign nations, none wanted to lose their unique identities and culture to a federal system. They did not want to subject themselves to a new tyranny.

Some of the 13 states were quite large and populated; others were not. So it was natural for the smaller and less dense states to be afraid they would be overpowered within a united Congress. Thus a lot of the negotiation within the Continental Congress and later on in the writing of the Constitution concerned preservation of the voice and sovereignty of the individual states. 

The government they devised was extremely unique to the world at that time. Each state would maintain their sovereign independence with equal voice and representation in the federal government. This system bore resemblance to some historical republican senates (‘republican’ being a descriptive adjective, not a noun), but there were differences.  Importantly, the new government would be a democratic republic. (in this sentence, the word ‘democratic’ is the adjective).

James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution and primary author of the Bill of Rights, repeatedly emphasized that the United States is a “republic” and not a “democracy.”  Meaning, the federal government was designed to give all the states equal representation.

It was up to the states to ensure that all their citizens had an equal voice in who represented their state in the federal government.

The Electoral College was an essential part of this. It was designed to ensure that each state has a voice in the election of the president. In this design, small states and rural citizens are just as franchised in the process of electing the president as are the large states and cities. It works to unify the country and ensure a government that is representative of all regions and interests – meeting the needs of even the far flung.

Later on, amendments were added to further ensure the equality of citizen voices and votes within the states. Remember – this system of government was extremely unique to the world at that time and was essentially an experiment in design. It needed some amendments along the way.

That said, the goal had always been that residents of very small, rural cities in low population states – often, the bread basket or fuel resource of the rest of the nation – would not be mere subjects to – or ‘serfs’ of – the residents of large cities or the wealthy. 

[This is also why some members of the Continental Congress lobbied for anti-slavery laws, and some northern state legislatures [early-on] passed anti-slavery laws and lobbied for similar laws in the federal Congress]

Without the electoral college today, there would be no point in small states with low population to bother voting.  Candidates would focus on Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and other large, populated cities and would not be concerned with most other areas. An ultra-conservative candidate would not have much chance of winning the large American cities – thus diversity of voices in candidates would be reduced.

The Electoral College FORCES presidential candidates to form large coalitions that represent states and Americans across the nation – rather than just particular regions or urban areas.

Why did Public Policy become so quickly insane? Socialism, Marxism and Critical Theory

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Nov 282020
 

While neither eighteenth century’s Adam Smith nor nineteenth century’s Karl Marx invented capitalism or socialism, neither capitalism nor socialism were clearly expressed prior to their attempts to express and build on these observed trends in varied societies. Feudalism had been the primary economic system for centuries, and  capitalism and socialism grew “only after feudalism’s demise”  (Blomberg 2012). 

Twentieth century Liberal Philosopher John Rawls now identifies five types of social order: “laissez‐faire capitalism [individual, natural liberty], welfare‐state capitalism, state socialism with a centrally controlled economy, property‐owning democracy, and liberal (or democratic) socialism” (Pogge & Kosch, 2007, p. 133).  We will discuss the relationship between Socialism, Marxism, and Critical Theory.

Key Ideas of Socialism

Socialists claim their key ideals include “principles of equality, democracy, individual freedom, self-realization, and community or solidarity” (Pablo Gilabert 2019).  Despite the necessity of individual determination for each these noble objectives, socialists call for strong government legislation to control and enforce the exercise of them.  According to Mises, “… a paternal authority, as a guardian for everybody,” is required by socialism (Mises, 2006).

Key Ideas of Marxism

Marxism originated in the mid-1800’s.  Introduced by German Philosopher Karl Marx, it is a political theory involving “dialectical materialism,” a resultant “labor theory of value,” and “transition from past to future” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 803).  Marx viewed capitalism’s law and order as just a facade hiding a struggle between two main classes: “Capitalists, who own the productive resources, and the workers or proletariat, who must work in order to survive” (Olman 2004). Marx endeavored to analyze the relationship between them. His analysis involved three theories: “the theory of alienation, the labor theory of value, and the materialist conception of history” (2004).  According to Marxism, the ruling class can control the “ideological outlook” of the working classes through production of materials that the working-class desire. “As long as the workers agree with the ideology that they are subject to, they will acquiesce to their place in the structure of society” (Formby 2015).

The result, according to Marx, of a “natural progression” that societies undergo as they and their economic systems are born, progress and either die off or reach a new level, is Marxism. Socialism is the “unrealized potential inherent” within the wealth and organization of Capitalism itself, which allows for “a more just and democratic society in which everyone can develop his/her distinctively human qualities” (Olman 2004).  Capitalism matures to Socialism, which in turn progresses to Communism/Marxism, which Marx described as a utopia that will no longer need politics or religion. (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 826). 

Marx drew his ideas from “German philosophy, English political economy, and French utopian socialism” (Olman 2004).  One of those was Jeremy Bentham, an English philosopher and social reformer. He had taught in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s that there needed to be a separation of “law as it is from law as it ought to be” (Hart, 1958). Calling this “Legal Positivism,” he pushed the detachment of statements of fact from statements of value and therefore, a detachment of law from morality and God’s Word.  Instead of basing law on Scripture or a moral goal to be attained, he wanted law to be viewed only in terms of how it was written. The decision as to how it should be written should be based on his “fundamental axiom” that law should reflect whatever brings “the greatest happiness” to the greatest number of people (Daniels 2012). Popular opinion would be the definition of right and wrong. His ideas formed a basis for welfarism  (Hart, 1958).

While socialism and communism deny the reality of a morality defined by God, many adherents recognize the difficulty of selling these social theories to the general public.  Marxism comes out of naturalism and leads to an emphasis on “economic and political solutions,” including behavior modification of the population and redistribution of wealth (Fischer, 2013).  Knowing that behavior modification is not something most people would embrace, Utopian socialists advocated use of “universal ideas of truth and justice” to appeal to the “moral sensibilities” of men. They asserted this is the only way to bring about necessary change to society (Wolff 2017).  However, Marx disagreed and distanced himself from utopian thought. He asserted that the way to bring about his vision of “human emancipation” was to study and explain the “historical and social forces” that he believed had shaped the world to this point. Appeal to ‘morality’ was, in his mind, regressive (2017).

With morality unnecessary, justice, as Bentham suggested, was solely the decision of men.  Marx either considered communism to be justice, or that the entire concept of justice does not apply because “communism would transcend justice” (Wolff 2017).  He described communism as “a society in which each person should contribute according to their ability and receive according to their need” (2017). While some believe this is a theory of justice, it is also possible that Marx is explaining how and why communism transcends justice. If ‘justice’ is nothing more than a method of resolving disputes, then “a society without disputes would have no need or place for justice” (2017). Hume had argued that if society had complete acceptance of all human beings and enough abundance for everyone to have “whatever they wanted without invading another’s share,” then there would be no need for rules of justice. There would be no conflict.  Marx had claimed that communism would bring abundance to everyone.

Whether or not world-wide brotherly love and abundantly available material possessions is even possible, the concept put forward was that “communism transcends justice” (Wolff 2017).  The sin nature of men, including greed, lust, laziness and selfishness, is ignored because if there is no God, there is no sin-nature. Everything is controllable on a physical level (Fischer, 2013). And therein lies the reason for behavior modification and redistribution of wealth.

Key Ideas of Critical Theory

Originating in Germany in 1931, Critical Theory was a child of its time and birth. Like most other modernists, postmodernists and naturalists, Critical Theorists inherently believe evolution includes a hierarchy of humans. With that, they imagine that if allowed opportunity, society’s best and brightest intellectuals and progressives – by their standards – can “rationally solve all problems” and should govern everyone else (Fischer, 2013). 

According to these “German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition,” a ‘critical’ theory is set apart from ‘traditional’ theory to the extent it is a “liberating … influence,” pursuing human “emancipation from slavery,” and functions to “create a world which satisfies the needs and powers” of human beings (Horkheimer 1972, 246). There is a growing number of elite intellectuals who believe critical theory provides descriptive and “normative” grounds for “social inquiry” and is valid science for decreasing domination and increasing freedom” in any form they deem to deconstruct (Bohman, Flynn and Celikates 2019 [2005]). 

By their definition, Critical Theory considers “social facts as problematic situations from the point of view of variously situated agents” (Bohman, Flynn and Celikates 2019 [2005]).  The philosophical approach of Critical Theory “extends to ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of history.”  Because they view this as a “normative task,” they believe it “cannot be accomplished apart from the interplay between philosophy and social science through interdisciplinary empirical social research” (2019 [2005]).  Because Critical Theory should bring “explanation and revolution” to all “dimensions of the domination of human beings in modern societies” and “circumstances that enslave human beings,” social inquiry should combine philosophy and the social sciences. Intellectual feel to the sciences needs to be suppressed (2019 [2005]). 

So, whereas traditional theory would verify empirically whether a stated fact has occurred or not, Critical Theory considers knowledge to be a fetish that infers “truth and falsehood presupposes an objective structure of the world” (Corradetti 2020)and is “rather functional to ideology critique and social emancipation”  (2020). Social criticism, therefore, is true knowledge and the vehicle for social action that transforms reality  (2020). In other words, by irrefutable judgement of these scattered theorists, any social standard considered normal and beyond question for the entirety of human history is now a “problematic situation” if any one person views it as such.

Critical Theory addresses all methods in which power is used through words or customs (Fischer, 2013).  Using “Bounded and Satisficing Rationality,” a person can reach a “satisfactory solution rather than an optimal one” (English 2016), and “design strategic tools” for making decisions, setting standards and creating environments in which the tools become “ecologically rational” (Gigerenzer 2011).

With this in mind, “…any philosophical approach with similar practical aims could be called a ‘critical theory,’ including feminism, critical race theory, and some forms of post-colonial criticism” (Bohman, Flynn and Celikates 2019 [2005]).  Fischer notes Queer Theory and criticism of current prison systems are also included  (Fischer, 2013). 

Opening the door to allow for every type of human complaint enlarges the size and power of the political movement.  However, the more voices in the tent, the more disagreement over policy and criticism of fellow “Critical Theorists.” Dr. William Scheuerman notes some concern that “contemporary critical theory is succumbing to legalist or juridical preoccupations that distort the nature of social reality” (Scheuerman 2016), and Dr. Amy Allen’s primary concern is the Frankfurt School’s critical theory “remains wedded to problematically Eurocentric and/or foundationalist strategies for grounding normativity” (Allen 2015, xii).  She wants to “decolonize Frankfurt School critical theory” and open it up “to the aims and concerns of post- and decolonial thought” (2015, xii).

            Antonio Vazquez-Arroyo, reviewing Dr. Allen’s work, notes her distaste for “robust claims to progress as ahistorical fact,” made by projects that claim to be critical, and “backward-looking conceptions of progress that understand history as a learning process that has led up to ‘us’ (p. 98)”  (Vazquez-Arroyo 2018, S227). He comments, “…a different warning goes unheeded. Paraphrasing her formulation, any theory that purports to be critical should be extremely wary of thought forms whose sediments and de-differentiations, along with neo-nativist gestures and inane ideas of decolonization, undermine genuine critique” (2018, S227).

According to Dr. Rasmussen, “the great challenge to critical theory that has to deal with the rise of religion, on the one hand, and globalization, on the other, will be whether or not it can keep a critical perspective alive or whether in the future we will look back at critical theory as just another theory of modernity” (2012).

Socialism, Marxism and Critical Theory

All three, Socialism, Marxism and Critical Theory, profess to be a pathway to Utopia – a society where all laws, government, and social conditions are ideal.  Fischer explains that Marxism and socialism are both a derivative of a naturalistic worldview and assume there is only a physical universe, not a spiritual one, and at the same time, free will is an illusion.  They believe that our choices are constrained by and are a product of our physical environment.  Therefore, social and economic justice are entirely achievable, as they are entirely physical constructs and “can and should be manipulated” (2018).

            Critical theory views the universe the same way, as noted by Gigerenzer, who said that ‘unbounded rationality’ is the illusion there is “an ‘omniscient being,’ omnipotent – knows everything – can compute all the consequences…a Laplacian demon, or maybe – God” (Gigerenzer 2011).

All three disciplines view people groups as monolithic.  They expect individuals of similar backgrounds to maintain the same views – ignoring individual thought and experience because such things make calculation and projections much more difficult.  Anyone who had not reached the same conclusions they had were either lying or deluded.   

Dr. Satnam Virdee recalled how in the early twentieth century, England’s Marxist Social Democratic Federation (SDF) “repeatedly emphasized how working-class racism was ‘part of the imperialist rationale to stress the inherent backwardness of African peoples.” and  (Virdee 2017).  Socialists denied that classism, rather than racism, could be the real problem because they had already decided that racism was the issue.  At the same time, in Germany, socialists stressed class was the issue, while the Nazi’s stressed race.  German socialists touted that “abolition of class exploitation” would liberate everyone, “including the racially oppressed” (2017). Virdee surmised that “socialist political practice” will have to become more ‘intersectional’ if solidarity between the “ethnically diverse proletariat in the imperialist core” is to be achieved (2017).  Further, economic tenets would need to change, as attempts to practice Marxist socialism have “had to reintroduce elements of private ownership in the means of production in order to overcome or prevent manifest bankruptcy” (Hoppe 1988 [2010]).

Impact of Socialism, Marxism and Critical Theory

The reason the United States has been “by and large, richer than Western Europe, and West Germany much richer than East Germany” is a direct result of less socialism”  (Hoppe 1988 [2010], 11).  The difference between Switzerland and Austria, as well as England in the nineteenth century and England today, is also a reflection of socialism (1988 [2010], 11). It appears socialism has had little success in anything other than stirring up rage within propaganda instilled college students.

In late fifties, many in the United States began to see the separation of law and morals as intellectually misleading and superficial, blinding men “to the true nature of law and its roots in social life.” Others asserted that the separation was corrupting society, bringing disrespect to the law, and giving way to “state tyranny or absolutism” (Hart, 1958). The term “Legal Positivism,” took on a negative context. One of them “was the sin” of Bentham insistence on the separation of “law as it is and law as it ought to be” (1958).

In the sixties, the New Left, a political movement that consisted of anti-war groups, libertarians, democrats, and Marxists, picked up the utopian idea of camouflaging socialism and Marxism in “morality-speak” and campaigned together on issues involving class, race, gender, ideology and culture.  In doing this, they brought “revision and diversification” to Marxism (Alexander 2018). In the 21st century, ‘Prefigurative politics’ is a new buzz word purported to represent “ethos of unity between means and ends,” as the New Left draws from its ‘60’s’ past with anarchist rioting as a means to bring about “revolutionary social transformation” (Gordon 2018). That is an aspect that has had a large impact on American politicians, if not necessarily the general public. In fact, Alexander reports that his Marxist passion waned after realizing the people he was attempting to liberate had no desire to be liberated.  Alexander related:

We formed a sociology collective and did our part during street demonstrations, the rousing performances that unfolded inside tear gas clouds. But holding back from the window breaking and systematic “trashing,” we felt increasingly alienated from the hardened members of the revolutionary vanguard. Ground down by its own internal dynamics and hounded by the triumph of backlash politics and Richard Nixon, the new left had come to resemble the old. It became increasingly polluted by Stalinism and sectarianism, by desperate militancy and acts of revolutionary terrorism. Watching this transformation with horror and fear, I looked for a different way to do radical politics, helping to lead more traditional organizing projects. Our sociology collective traveled to Los Angeles to stand beside workers striking the Goodyear Tire plant. We confronted their conservative trade union leadership and produced a wall poster that provided an alternative intellectual framework for their struggle.

We did not find any converts, and the first doubts about the appropriateness of radical criticism began to form in my mind. …For three months we canvassed this working-class community of General Motors employees, seeking to organize them against the Vietnam war, demonstrating the connection between such imperialist violence and capitalism, whose exploitation we believed such workers would be naturally against. But, if only an hour’s drive from Berkeley, Fremont was actually a universe away. The manifest satisfaction of Freemont residents with the American way of life mystified but also deeply impressed me. Was commodification as alienating as the good books had said? Had capitalist culture really brainwashed these workers in a hegemonic way? (Alexander 2018)

The Progressivism in America today is a post-modern version of Marxism.  Marxism pitted the rich against the poor. Progressivism pits white males – ostensibly rich white males – against everyone else (Fischer, 2013). In a debate between Trotsky and U.S. socialist C.L.R. James, James recognized the “revolutionary potential of African Americans.”  He believed that because of the history of slavery and then Jim Crow, “African Americans were not ‘deceived by democracy,’” and would never support capitalism (Virdee 2017).  He was correct concerning some who have black heritage, but not all. In fact, the Marxist socialists are not united in every aspect of their projects.  New communists often push the left to pay “increasing attention to feminism, anti-racism and sexual politics” and believe failure to do so nullifies their radicalism and effectiveness. To others, engaging with “non-class forms of politics” is what causes loss to their “radicalism and efficacy” (Dean 2015).  Neither camp has yet to come to terms with the possibility that free peoples, when given a choice, reject socialism, let alone communism.

Biblical principles of statesmanship and government

Neither pure capitalism nor socialism were economic systems at the time of Jesus Christ  (Blomberg 2012).  Nevertheless, historians who study the Biblical economy and patterns of social interaction generally agree that Biblical communities, which measured wealth by the amount of land and number of animals a man owned, operated within the theory of “limited good.” Most people believed wealth was measured and finite, and only a small portion was accessible to persons such as themselves (2012).

While persons of whom the Bible was written may have had some belief similar to that of Marx, Karl Marx and others of his circle had no belief in them. Nineteenth century philosopher Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach claimed that human beings had invented God in their own image and argued that worshipping God “diverted human beings from enjoying their own human powers.”  Feuerbach believed this happened to men by innocent “intellectual error.” They merely needed to have truth explained to them for them to pull out of it. Marx appreciated the book but criticized Feuerbach for failing to understand the reason so many fall prey to religion. If one doesn’t understand the genesis of it, one can’t understand the solution. Marx’s view was that “religion is a response to alienation in material life,” and therefore, “cannot be removed” until the person is set financially and materially free.  Once that happens, “religion will wither away” (Wolff 2017). In the introduction of his work, ‘Contribution to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Karl Marx remarked that religion is the ‘opiate of the people.’ It is in this section that he also discusses the question of “how revolution might be achieved in Germany,” and describes the “role of the proletariat” in making that happen (2017).

Naturalists, socialists, and Marxists do not believe a metaphysical component exists in the world. God and any form of spirituality are myths created to comfort distressed and oppressed “masses” of people. Therefore, they believe all change must come through the physical tools and institutions available to men.  It is up to government to guide, teach, sustain and protect people (Fisher 2018).

However, it was witnessed and documented that Jesus rose from the dead. Unexplainable miracles have occurred throughout history and continue to this day, giving direct evidence of a spiritual component to the world. God is personal, intelligent, and the timeless creator. While it is true that injustice exists in the world, Jesus urged his followers to give to the poor, but did not demand government take money from citizens to give to the poor.  Helping one’s neighbor is an individual responsibility. “Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

America’s founding fathers did not want federal government to have the power to demand more money from the public than necessary because they had been abused in that way by the British government (Vaughan 1997).  Governments are constituted of men, and men are inherently sinful and selfish. Many seek pleasure and power at the expense of others and even at times take perverse pleasure in it. Tyrants and despots exist.

This is also why justice cannot be arbitrary.  There needs to be uncompromising, enduring justice. Bentham assumed people would naturally seek ‘good’ and pleasure over pain, but neither Marx nor Bentham appeared to accept the genuine nature of man and man’s need for intervention from the Holy Spirit (Daniels 2012).  Men cannot depend on a government structure. Men can only depend on God.  Without Jesus, society devolves. “The social ethic of the secular is so narrow…they give up on trying to defend principal”…“But Christians can’t give up” (2012).

References

Alexander, Jeffrey C. “The Sixties and Me: From Cultural Revolution to Cultural Theory.” Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales 63, no. 234 (Sep-Dec 2018): 99-110. D.

Allen, Amy. The end of progress: Decolonizingthe normative foundations of critical theory. New York: Columbia Uniiversity, 2015.

Blomberg, Craig L. “Neither Capitalism nor Socialism: A Biblical Theology of Economics.” Journal of Markets and Morality 15, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 207-225.

Bohman, James, Jeffrey Flynn, and Robin Celikates. Critical Theory. Winter 2019. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, 2019 [2005].

Corradetti, Claudio. “The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource. 2020. https://iep.utm.edu/frankfur/ (accessed 11 23, 2020).

Daniels, Scott. Presentation: Modern Secular Political Philosophy. Online Presentation, Helms School of Government, Lynchburg: Liberty University, 2012.

Dean, Jonathan. “Radicalism restored? Communism and the end of left melancholia.” Contemporary Political Theory, Aug 2015: 234-255.

English, Angi. “Understanding Bounded Rationality and Satisficing.” Bounded Rationality. Platform by the Center for Homeland Defense and Security . June 3, 2016. https://medium.com/homeland-security/understanding-bounded-rationality-and-satisficing-175e787955d6 (accessed 11 26, 2020).

Fisher, Kahlib. Presentation: Socialism, Marxism, and Critical Theory . Lynchburg: Liberty University, 2018.

Formby, Dan. “[Essay] Why Marxism and Critical Theory Still Matter.” Journal of Critical and Creative Writing, 2015.

Gigerenzer, Gerd. Bounded Rationality. Online presentation, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin: National Science Foundation, 2011.

Gordon, Uri. “Prefigurative Politics between Ethical Practice and Absent Promise.” Political Studies 66, no. 2 (2018): 521-537.

Hart, H.L.A. “Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals.” Harvard Law Review (The Harvard Law Review Association) 71, no. 4 (1958): 593-629.

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1988 [2010].

Mises, Ludwig von. Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow. 3rd. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006.

Olman, Bertell. “What is Marxism? A Bird’s-Eye View.” Dialectical Marxism. 2004. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/ollman/docs/what_is_marxism.php.

Pablo Gilabert, Martin O’Neill. “Socialism.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2019, Fall, 2019 ed.

Pogge, Thomas, and Michelle Kosch. John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Rasmussen, David M. “Critical Theory.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy (Penn State University Press) 26, no. 2 (2012): 291-298.

Scheuerman, William E. “Recent Frankfurt Critical Theory: Down on Law?” Constellations 24, no. 1 (2016): 113-125.

Strauss, Leo, and Joseph Cropsey. History of Political Philosophy. 3. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1987.

Vaughan, David J. Give Me Liberty: The Uncompromising Statesmanship of Patrick Henry. Edited by George Grant. Nashville: Cumberland House Publishing Inc., 1997.

Vazquez-Arroyo, Antonio Y. “Review: The end of progress: Decolonizingthe normative foundations of critical theory.” Contemporary Political Theory (Rutgers University), 2018: S224–S227.

Virdee, Satnam. “The second sight of racialised outsiders in the imperialist core.” Third World Quarterly 38, no. 11 (2017): 2396-2410.

Wolff, Jonathan. “Karl Marx.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2017, Winter 2017 ed.

George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796

 Comments Off on George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796
Jul 072020
 
George Washington Praying

Overview: War, Crisis, and Transition

  • Explaining Reluctance to Run
  • Unity and sectionalism
  • The Constitution and political parties
  • Checks and balances and separation of powers
  • Religion, morality, and education
  • Credit and government borrowing
  • Foreign relations and free trade
  • Address’s intentions
  • Defense of the Proclamation of Neutrality
  • Closing thoughts

Explaining Reluctance to Run

Friends and Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

Unity and sectionalism

“The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.”

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rival ships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the Union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them everything they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the Union by which they were procured ? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?

The Constitution and political parties

“To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”

“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

“Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.”

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

Checks and balances and separation of powers

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

“It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.”

Religion, morality, and education

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”

Credit and government borrowing

“As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.”

Foreign relations and free trade

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it – It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

This Address’s intentions

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

Defense of the Proclamation of Neutrality

In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the twenty-second of April, I793, is the index of my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your representatives in both houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

Closing thoughts

The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

Geo. Washington.

(Washington, 1796)

Washington, G. (1796). The Avalon Project. Retrieved September 17, 2015, from Lillian Goldman Law Library: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

KNOW what the Constitution says concerning the Presidency:

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Feb 152020
 
http://dakotansforhonestyinpolitics.com/

With politicians and talking heads constantly in disagreement concerning the powers and responsibilities of the U.S. President – it is important for voters to know for themselves what the U.S. Constitution actually says concerning the Presidency.

Here is Article II of the U.S. Constitutionfollowed by the amendments pertaining to the Presidency. Ensure you KNOW what it says – not just what people tell you it says…

Article II of the U.S. Constitution:

Section 1.

“The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows:

Each state shall appoint, [See the 23rd Amendment (XXIII) ] in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each state having one vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President. [Procedural change in 1804; See the 12th Amendment (XII) ]

The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States. [See Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (XIV), as well as the 22nd Amendment (XXII) ].

In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected. [Superseded by the 25th Amendment in 1967 (XXV) ]

The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall 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.”

Section 2.

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

Section 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper [See the 20th Amendment (XX) ]; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

Section 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The above, Article II, U.S. Constitution (United States, 1787), is quoted as written with the addition of notes concerning amendments

Note: A portion of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th Amendment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS that have Affected the Presidency

AMENDMENT XII

  • Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; — the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. —]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

*The above starred portion was Superseded by Section 3 of the 20th Amendment (XX).

AMENDMENT XIV, Section 3.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

AMENDMENT XX

  • Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.

Section 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

AMENDMENT XXII

  • Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

Section 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

AMENDMENT XXIII

  • Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.

Section 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

AMENDMENT XXIV – Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964, Section 1.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

AMENDMENT XXV

  • Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967, altering Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution.

Section 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.


Find this and more at:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/

The Philosophical Underpinnings and Negative Consequences of the Indian Child Welfare Act

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Oct 222019
 
Freedom to live outside of 'Indian Country' - https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/masters/591/

By Elizabeth S. Morris

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Helms School of Government in Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts in Public Policy

https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/masters/591

‘Although the ICWA has some statutory safeguards to prevent misuse, numerous families continue to be hurt by the law.’

Preface

My husband and I began our lives together in a symbiotic alcoholic-enabler relationship in the late 70’s. With our family on the edge of self-destruction in 1987, my husband, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, born and raised on the Leech Lake reservation, had a transformational experience which changed his worldview and led him to take our family in a new direction. 

Having watched many of his relatives suffer within the reservation system, he began to see reservation violence and crime as an outcome of current federal Indian policy more than it was about past policy. This led us to forming an advocacy in the late 90’s for families hurt by federal Indian policy.  We did our best to share hope and life, as inadequate as we were, by assisting extended family in our home, neighbors in our community, and strangers across the nation. We never did it for money; there was never any money. Everything we did came from passion for the lives of our children, nieces and nephews, and extended communities.

Unfortunately, reservation crime, corruption, drug abuse and violence have continued to increase over the years. My husband has since passed away and I am a widow, continuing the work we had begun in 1996.

This thesis compiles some of the documented history, philosophy, and consequences of federal Indian policy. It also includes a preliminary quantitative causal comparative survey with 1351 participants – 551 of whom identify tribal heritage – and explores the relationship between differences.

We serve a powerful God with whom all things are possible.  Our job is to serve in the capacity He has given us, even if we do not understand why, and then enjoy watching what He does next. 

Abstract

This paper will examine the philosophical underpinnings of current federal Indian policy and its physical, emotional, and economic consequences on individuals and communities.

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission found in 1990 that “[T]he Government of the United States has failed to provide civil rights protection for Native Americans living on reservations” (W. B. Allen 1990, 2). As Regan (2014) observes, individuals have been denied full title to their property – and thus use of the property as leverage to improve their economic condition (Regan 2014). Tribal executive and judicial branches have been accused of illegal search and seizures, denial of right to counsel or jury, ex parte hearings and violations of due process and equal protection (W. B. Allen 1990, 3). Violence, criminal activity, child abuse and trafficking are rampant on many reservations (DOJ 2018). Largely because of crime and corruption, many have left the reservation system. The last two U.S. censuses’ report 75% of tribal members do not live in Indian Country (US Census Bureau 2010).

Research suggests current federal Indian policy and the reservation system are built on philosophies destructive to the physical, emotional and economic health of individual tribal members. This paper contends that allowing property rights for individual tribal members, enforcing rule of law within reservation systems, supporting law enforcement, and upholding full constitutional rights and protections of all citizens would secure the lives, liberties and properties of affected individuals and families.

Introduction

For almost 200 years the U.S. federal government has claimed wardship over members of federally recognized Indian tribes.  Yet, despite the nineteenth century U.S. federal court rulings that propagated this view, disagreement continues as to whether tribes located within the United States are sovereign, whether Congress has plenary power over them, and whether individual tribal members have U.S. Constitutional rights: 

  • Some say the nineteenth century U.S. Supreme Court cases known as the ‘Marshall Trilogy’ contradict tribal sovereignty.  Others say they uphold it.
  • Some say treaties promise a permanent trust relationship. Others point out that most treaties have clearly specified final payments of federal funds and benefits and were written and signed with clear intent for gradual assimilation.
  • Some say the Constitution never gave Congress anything more than the power to regulate trade with tribes. Others claim the Constitution not only gave Congress total and exclusive plenary power to decide every aspect of life in Indian Country – but by unstated extension, gave the executive branch this power as well.
  • Some argue that the Constitution never had authority over tribes or tribal members. Others cite the Constitution when seeking judicial redress. 
  • Some tribal officials argue that international law should not have been forced upon non-European cultures that had no say in it. Others point to natural law and international law – the grounds for treaties between nations – as basis for uninterrupted tribal sovereignty.

Inherent, retained tribal sovereignty was reality for tribal governments prior to the formation of the United States and in the immediate years following its birth, but is not reflected in case law from the 1800s and much of the 1900s. By the time of Andrew Jackson, the United States had taken a position of control. Further, over the last two centuries, the vast majority of tribal leaders accepted large payments for land, accepted federal trust benefits, and submitted to federal government’s de facto power over them.   

Throughout history and every heritage, various men have coveted power over others.  Today, tribal governments, while accepting and playing into Congress’ claim of plenary power, have themselves, also, claimed exclusive jurisdiction and authority over unwilling citizens. Tribal governments regularly lobby and petition both Congress and the White House to codify tribal jurisdiction over the lives, liberty and property of everyone within reservation boundaries as well as some outside reservation boundaries.  While claiming exclusive jurisdiction, tribal governments have requested and given blessing for the federal government to manage children of tribal heritage – asking Congress to write the Indian Child Welfare Act and the executive branch to write federal rules governing the placement of every enrollable child in need of care. Some tribal governments and supportive entities have gone further – asking even governors and state legislators to expand on and strengthen control over children with heritage.

Often cited as justification for the ICWA is a 1998 pilot study by Carol Locust, a training director at the Native American Research and Training Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.  Locust’s study is said to have shown that “every Indian child placed in a non-Indian home for either foster care or adoption is placed at great risk of long-term psychological damage as an adult” (Locust, Split Feather Study 1998).  Referring to the condition as the “Split-feather Syndrome,” Locust claims to have identified “unique factors of Indian children placed in non-Indian homes that created damaging effects” (Locust, Split Feather Study 1998).  The Minnesota Department of Human Services noted “an astonishing 19 out of 20 Native adult adoptees showed signs of “Split-feather syndrome” during Locust’s limited study (DHS 2005).

“Unfortunately,” according to Bonnie Cleaveland, PhD ABPP, “the study was implemented so poorly that we cannot draw conclusions from it.” Only twenty adoptees with tribal heritage – total – were interviewed. All were removed from their biological families and placed with non-native families. There were no control groups to address other variables. According to Cleaveland:

Locust asserts that out-of-culture removal causes substance abuse and psychiatric problems. However, she uses no control group. She doesn’t acknowledge the high rates of trauma, psychiatric and substance abuse among AI/AN people who remain in their culture and among the population of foster children. These high rates of psychosocial problems could easily account for all of the symptoms Locust found in her subjects 

(Cleaveland 2015).

Cleaveland concluded, “Sadly, because many judges and attorneys, and even some caseworkers and other professionals, are not familiar with the research, results that may be very wrong are leading to the wrong outcomes for children” (Cleaveland 2015).  While supporters of ICWA cite “Split-feather Syndrome” as proof the ICWA is in the best interest of children, many children have been hurt by application of the law. 

Questions that need more extensive study include whether children who were adopted into non-Indian families as children show greater problems with self-identity, self-esteem, and inter-personal relationships than do their peers.  Are the ties between children who have tribal heritage and their birth families and culture stronger than that of their peers, no matter the age at adoption?  Other considerations include whether all tribal members support federal policies that mandate their cases be heard only in tribal courts and whether a percentage of persons of tribal heritage believe federal Indian policy infringes on their life, liberty and property.

 The central concern of this paper is how current federal Indian policy has affected the lives, liberty and property of those who have tribal heritage – most specifically the Indian Child Welfare Act.  Through research of the historical foundations of federal Indian policy and a nation-wide comparative survey of family dynamics, this paper will attempt to answer these and other questions.

READ FULL TEXT – https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/masters/591

Citation

Morris, Elizabeth S. The Philosophical Underpinnings and Negative Consequences of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Master Thesis, Helms School of Government, Liberty University, Lynchburg: Digital Commons, 2019, 337.  

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Did the 2nd Amendment Guarantee Gun Ownership?

 Comments Off on Did the 2nd Amendment Guarantee Gun Ownership?
Sep 282016
 
http://dakotansforhonestyinpolitics.com/

“Since the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller [2008] and McDonald v. City of Chicago [2010] announced that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms and incorporated that right against the states, courts and scholars have struggled to determine the reach of those opinions” (Meltzer 2014).

Heller and McDonald held that citizens have a right to keep handguns in the home. Left in question was the rights of individuals to carry guns outside the home, and whether or not they could be concealed. Over the last few years since Heller and McDonald, dozens of challenges to gun regulations have been brought forward. “The issue is extraordinarily important to proponents and opponents of gun rights alike. For proponents, the only way to truly vindicate the right to self-defense is to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms on their person. According to opponents of gun rights, an individual right to carry would constitutionalize extreme behavior, allow for vigilantism, and undermine public safety” (Meltzer 2014).

TWO POINTS OF VIEW

“The debate has resulted in odd political alignments which in turn have caused the Second Amendment to be described recently as the most embarrassing provision of the Bill of Rights” (Vandercoy 1994). Embarrassing, because people who might be 100% behind freedom of speech, ready to defend it against government encroachment, along with defense of all other rights in the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments – are reticent to defend the 2nd amendment with the same vigor, if at all.

Following Heller and McDonald, lower courts have been left to decide how far the right to gun ownership extends:

“Some have taken after Heller, conducting significant historical analysis to determine the extent of the Second Amendment right outside the home. Others have concentrated on tiers of scrutiny, weighing the benefits of the gun regulation at issue against its intrusion on the right to keep and bear arms. Others still have refused to extend the right outside the home absent further instruction from the Supreme Court” (Meltzer 2014).

According to Judge Wilkinson in United States v. Masciandaro, “[t]he whole matter [of the right to carry outside the home] strikes us as a vast terra incognita that courts should enter only upon necessity and only then by small degree.”  The Court of Appeals of Maryland agreed, stating, “[i]f the Supreme Court . . . meant its [Heller] holding to extend beyond home possession, it will need to say so more plainly.” (Meltzer 2014)

However, other courts, using the same historical examination of evidence that was used in Heller, have found that United States citizens do have a right to carry their guns outside of the home, while a third set of courts has ruled that while carrying a gun is legal, it must be ‘open carry.’ Concealment isn’t allowed” (Meltzer 2014).

ANTI-GUN

Both the Second and Tenth Circuit Courts, while agreeing the right to carry exists, have issued opinions denying the right to ‘concealed carry.’ They came to their conclusions following “extensive historical evidence regarding limitations on the right to carry” (Meltzer 2014).

Many scholars agree and continue to argue that the Second Amendment does not bar reasonable regulation of guns. A 1995 paper published in the Boston University Law Review laid the foundation for pro-regulation arguments.  “Viewing the Second Amendment as an absolute barrier to firearms regulation is like the assertion that the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause absolutely prohibits any speech regulations,” argued Andrew Hertz in his 1995 paper, ‘Gun Crazy: Constitutional False Consciousness and Dereliction of Dialogic Responsibility,’ published in the Boston University Law Review.

Hertz painted the pro-gun lobby as the deceitful root of the public’s fear of regulation. “Out in the heartland, the “right to bear arms” resonates in the hearts and minds of a very vocal and active portion of the American public. Nurtured if not conditioned by the gun lobby’s barely-challenged drumbeat of propaganda, these people believe in the “right” — constitutionally or divinely ordained — to bear arms against brutal thugs and feds” (Herz 1995).

Erwin Chemerinsky also seemed to mock the constitutional argument concerning the bearing of arms against brutal feds.  He said;

“… [It] seems silly. With the possible exception of the Civil War, never in the 217- year history of the United States have people needed guns for this purpose. If ever there were a truly tyrannical government in the United States, it is highly questionable that individuals having their own guns would make much difference. Interestingly, Robert Bork put this best when he said: “The Second Amendment was designed to allow states to defend themselves against a possibly tyrannical national government. Now that the federal government has stealth bombers and nuclear weapons, it is hard to imagine what people would need to keep in the garage to serve that purpose. “The incredibly remote chance that guns might be helpful against a tyrannical government hardly seems a reason to accept the tremendous human costs of guns” (Chemerinsky 2004)

Herz’s paper, written years before the Supreme Court took on Heller, went so far as to deny a constitutional right to own guns exists. “Indeed, constitutional false consciousness has claimed fair-minded gun-lobby analysts like Osha Gray Davidson, and even ardent gun control activists like Handgun Control, Inc. presidents — both Pete Shields and Richard Aborn have spoken of the mythical “right to bear arms” (Herz 1995), and yet, according to Hertz, “courts have consistently found that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms only for those individuals who are part of the ‘well-regulated Militia’…there is no right to bear arms for self-defense, hunting, or shooting competitions, much less arsenal-building in preparation for resistance of potential domestic tyranny” (Herz 1995)

Hertz referred to the gun culture as “…a disease, just as surely as drug and alcohol abuse are societal diseases” (Herz 1995). He concludes the paper ‘Gun Crazy’ with a warning that continuing to entertain the gun lobby will result in the “sacrifice more than one hundred men, women, and children every day on the altar of exaggerated firearms freedoms” (Herz 1995).

Hertz was proven wrong in 2008 with the Supreme Court ruling in Heller, but his attack on the integrity of those who supported the constitutional right to own guns remains today. At the least, there remain many who want to work around the constitution to create the regulation they desire.

“One way that the Court could affirm a personal right to self-defense without constitutionalizing open carry would be to evaluate the right to self-defense through a wider frame… narrow reading of the antebellum case law should lead the Court to find that only open carry is constitutionally protected. But by widening its scope, and instead finding that the nineteenth-century case law stands only for the existence of an individual right and nothing more, the Court could then fashion that right as it saw fit—as requiring an alternative outlet, for example” (Meltzer 2014).

“A second way the Supreme Court might escape enshrining a right to open carry would be to simply insert ahistorical reasoning into a case otherwise reliant on history. The Court would have a particularly good model for such a maneuver: Heller itself. …Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban posed something of a problem for the majority in Heller, seeing as the framers of the Second Amendment undoubtedly had long guns in mind in 1791. To avoid this problem, the Heller Court determined that because handguns were the overwhelming choice of modern-day Americans for use in self-defense, they should receive protection under the Second Amendment… the Court had no trouble making these thoroughly modern accommodations” (Meltzer 2014).

PRO-GUN

Contrary to the assertions of Hertz, “Research conducted through the 1980s has led legal scholars and historians to conclude, sometimes reluctantly, but with virtual unanimity, that there is no tenable textual or historical argument against a broad individual right view of the Second Amendment” (Barnett and Kates 1996).

What the research has shown is that “…the original intent of the Second Amendment was to protect each individual’s right to keep and bear arms, and to guarantee that individuals acting collectively could throw off the yokes of any oppressive government which might arise. Thus, the right envisioned was not only the right to be armed, but to be armed at a level equal to the government” (Vandercoy 1994).     http://dakotansforhonestyinpolitics.com/

The history of the Second Amendment reveals the critical reasons our forefathers knew the amendment to be necessary. “Eighteenth-century commentators frequently discussed the evils of standing armies.’ …In free states, the defense of the realm was considered best left to citizens who took up arms only when necessary and who returned to their communities and occupations when the danger passed. Standing armies were viewed as instruments of fear intended to preserve the prince’” (Vandercoy 1994).

“By the end of the Tudor period, the citizen army or militia concept had become a fixed component in English life. The period’s commentators attributed English military successes to the universal armament practice prevalent in England but absent on the continent…Historians suggested that English universal armament caused a moderation of monarchial rule and fostered individual liberties because the populace had in reserve a check which soon brought the fiercest and proudest King to reason: the check of physical force” (Vandercoy 1994).

Various abuses by King James brought the 1689 English Parliament to insist the current sovereigns, William and Mary, sign a Declaration of Rights restricting their powers. “The declaration set forth the positive right of Protestant subjects to have arms for their defense, suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.  The Declaration did not create a new right. The English had been able to possess individual arms for centuries and at times were required to keep them. Nevertheless, the debates attending the Declaration make clear that Parliament thought the right should be recognized as a right of individuals” (Vandercoy 1994). The first draft stated: ‘[I]t is necessary for the Publick Safety, that the Subjects which are Protestants, should provide and keep Arms for their common Defence. And that the Arms which have been seized, and taken from them, be restored.’ …The final version read: “[T]hat the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.”‘ The term “as allowed by law” was not a limitation on possession, but a limitation on use” (Vandercoy 1994).

“…The essence of republican thought was that a citizenry could rule itself without the paternal guiding hand of a monarch.” One of the leading republican theorists was James Harrington.” Harrington’s beliefs were simple and direct. He believed that ownership of land gave people independence’” (Vandercoy 1994)

“…Harrington also believed that the actual independence attained would be a function of the citizen’s ability to bear arms and use them to defend his rights” and “that an armed population is a popular government’s best protection against its enemies, both foreign and domestic”  (Vandercoy 1994, 1021).

http://dakotansforhonestyinpolitics.com/

Rob Natelson

This background to the Second Amendment has been available for all to read, including those critics denying the purpose of the Second Amendment. Constitutional Attorney Rob Natelson states, “We can understand what it did and didn’t include by examining the history of the Founding. It has always bothered me that so many judges and constitutional writers merely speculate about what First and Second Amendment rights mean, rather than going to the historical records and finding out” (Natelson 2013).

At times, these critics appear to have purposefully distorted the history and facts. Professor Randy Barnett writes, “Gun Crazy portrays the near-unanimous scholarly literature as “pro-gun lobby” propaganda. One of Gun Crazy’s tactics is to reject twenty-five law review articles defending the individual right view as biased per se. These are articles by nonacademics whom Gun Crazy identifies as employees of the NRA and other pro-gun groups or whom Gun Crazy denigrates as “[g]unrights litigators and activists,” “leading gun-rights litigators and lobbyists,”” and “warhorses.”” At the same time, Gun Crazy derives its substantive arguments on the Second Amendment from the handful of articles on the other side which it cites without ever informing readers that their authors are officers or paid employees of anti-gun groups” (Barnett and Kates 1996).

In addition to an honest study of history, scholarly parsing of the text is necessary for a correct understanding of the amendment. Natelson states, “In recent years, people offering answers to that question have often focused on the militia part of the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state. . .” But…The militia phrase is … a “preamble”—a non-binding explanation of intent. It is not the effective, or operative, part of the amendment. In other words, it is only a guide to interpretation, not the actual law. The actual law is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (Natelson 2013).

He goes on,

“First, it refers to ‘THE right of the people to keep and bear arms.’ Like ‘the freedom of speech’ and ‘the freedom of the press’ in the First Amendment. The Founders were referring to a right already existing before the Constitution was ever adopted. In the Founders’ view, it was a natural right, given by God and not to be impaired by government. On the contrary, it was a right that government must guarantee” (Natelson 2013).

Natelson takes it to the furthest end of the spectrum from Herz, stating, “Today, political demagogues talk about imposing “common-sense” or “reasonable” restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. But the Constitution, properly understood, is clear that there are NO permissible restrictions on the right, however much the politicians may think they are “common sense” or “reasonable.” (Natelson 2013).

“…The Second Amendment cannot be limited to muskets and flintlocks any more than the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce can be limited to trade in sailing ships and horse-drawn wagons.  Even an old-fashioned constitutionalist like myself believes that Congress can use the Commerce Power to regulate railroads and air travel, although those forms of travel did not exist when the Constitution was ratified. Otherwise, the Commerce Power would mean nothing. For the same reason, the right to keep and bear arms must include the free use of modern technology appropriate for self-defense” (Natelson 2013).

 

CONCLUSION

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”

According to David Vandercoy, our forefathers understood two things from English history: standing armies were beholden to the government and therefore, a threat to liberty. That said, the only true check on a tyrannical government is an armed populace. “… the public purpose of the right to keep arms was to check government, the right necessarily belonged to the individual and, as a matter of theory, was thought to be absolute in that it could not be abrogated by the prevailing rulers. These views were adopted by the framers, both Federalists and Antifederalists…The intent was not to create a right for other governments, the individual states; it was to preserve the people’s right to a free state, just as it says” (Vandercoy 1994).

Rob Natelson agrees,

“The author of the first draft of the Second Amendment was James Madison. Madison’s favorite book of political theory was Aristotle’s Politics. Several times in that work Aristotle makes the point that all citizens should have weapons, and that only those with weapons should be citizens. Otherwise, he wrote, those that are disarmed are the slaves of those who are armed” (Natelson 2013).

Men have understood this all the way back in ancient times, In Nehemiah, 4:17-18, “Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built…” They each kept a weapon handy for defense.

Lastly, this concept has always been understood by tyrannical governments. One of the first thing Hitler did was disarm his populace.  Men who want control over other men – disarm them.

“The widespread ownership of firearms, therefore, helps to preserve freedom, usually without the need for armed violence. When politicians limit or harass gun ownership, the threat is far wider than the threat to guns alone. By reducing the number of citizens who are armed, gun control emboldens the authoritarian politicians to control everything else we do, thereby imperiling freedom generally” (Natelson 2013).

 

References 

Barnett, Randy E., and Don B. Kates. “UNDER FIRE: THE NEW CONSENSUS ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT.” Emory Law Journal (Georgetown Law Library) 45 (Fall 1996): 1139-1259.

Chemerinsky, Erwin. “Putting the Gun Control Debate in Social.” Fordham Law Review 73, no. 2 (2004): 477.

Herz, Andrew D. “Gun Crazy: Constitutional False Consciousness and Dereliction of Dialogic Responsibility,.” Boston University Law Review 75 (1995): 57.

Meltzer, Jonathan. “Open Carry for All: Heller and Our Nineteenth-Century Second Amendment.” The Yale Law Journal 1123, no. 5 (2014): 1118-1625.

Natelson, Rob, interview by The Tenth Amendment Center. The Founders and the 2nd Amendment (3 23, 2013).

Vandercoy, David E. “THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT.” Valparaiso University Law Review 28 (1994): 1007.