The following is a lengthy but worthy read. It was submitted to the first edition Federal Observer by a good friend and contributing writer and Patriot – the late Edgar J. Steele. He is sadly missed. May he be resting in peace in a better place that we are living this day, for all that he wrote of has or is coming to pass… and few would listen. ~ Jeffrey Bennett, Editor
With no apologies to Thomas Paine
“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense (February 1776)
~ Preface ~
There are a remarkable number of parallels between pre-revolutionary America and the America of today. It is downright spooky how, in their writings of that time, our founding fathers might have been speaking directly to this generation of Americans. Then again, I do not believe in coincidence so perhaps, in a sense, they were.
How appropriate that those of us who advocate a return to the ideals of those days are called “patriots,” a word which has taken on as derisive a meaning when mouthed by government agents today as those uttered about our forebears by King George’s men during the first American revolution.
Nor is it coincidence that those of us labeled as “patriots” wear the mark with respect and honor. I count myself proudly among their number and pray only that my work be worthy of inclusion.
It takes a little work to update the founding fathers’ works to modern forms of language and phrasing, but the result is nothing short of amazing, particularly when we replace “England” with “Federal Government” and “King George” with “The President.”
I have presumed to do just that with Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” in this series, a four-part work written and published in early 1776 as part of a broad effort to convince the American settlers to declare independence from England.
In several places, I have retained Paine’s wording intact, where it has particular impact in its original form. In others, I have edited and rephrased mercilessly, while trying to hew to the apparent intent of his argument.
I do not suggest that this is an improvement upon what Thomas Paine had to say. I believe only that this is how he might have said it, were he alive today and speaking of the grotesquerie that our government has become.
As you read this section, you might find it useful to compare it with its counterpart in the original Common Sense by Thomas Paine.
I have maintained the original’s organization and structure in this rewrite, in order to facilitate direct comparison.
Edgar J. Steele, 2003
To the Inhabitants of America on the following interesting subjects:
Part I. Of the origin and design of government in general, with concise remarks on the American Constitution.
Part II. Of the imperial presidency and hereditary succession.
Part III. Thoughts on the present state of American affairs.
Part IV. Of the present ability of America, with some miscellaneous reflections.
Part I: Of the origin and design of government in general, with concise remarks on the American Constitution.
Virtually all Americans have so confused society with government, as to leave little distinction between them, though they are different and have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants; government by our wantonness. Society promotes our happiness; government restrains our vices. Society is our patron; government is our punisher.
Society is our blessing, while government is but a necessary evil. At its worst, a government is intolerable because we provide it the very means by which it oppresses us.
Since man is not guided always by the finer dictates of conscience, some form of government is necessary. Thus, we choose to give up a portion of our wealth to sustain government, though that decision must involve selection of the least among evils.
Security being the purpose of government, we prefer that which provides it at the least cost, with the greatest benefit.
To gain a clear idea of the purpose of government, imagine a small number of people settling in a distant land, with no connection to any others. In this natural state, society will be their first thought, since a division of labor among them will produce the greatest common and individual good. Each member of the society will do that for which he or she is best suited, with the whole providing protection and producing far more than the sum of its parts.
But, as the base necessities of life are ensured, human nature being what it is, a group discussion of problems will ensue. Initially, rules will be informal and their violation met with mere group disapproval. Each member of society, naturally, will be heard at first.
As the group’s members increase, so will the problems, as will the distance members must travel to discuss the problems. It will become convenient to select a few of the group’s members, who have the same concerns as those selecting them, and who will act as the whole group would, if assembled. As the society grows ever larger, it will be necessary to add to the select governing group, so as to ensure representation of all the interests present in the burgeoning society.
To ensure that the members elected to the governing body not form interests separate from those electing them, prudence dictates frequent elections, with the members elected returning to general society. Because the elected return in a short time to become a part of the governed, the fidelity of the government is assured and the support of the people guaranteed. This is the basis for the strength of government and the happiness of the governed.
Thus, government is seen to be necessary due to the failure of moral virtue to govern. The purpose of government also is clear: freedom and security.
Clear reason shows all else concerning government merely to be contrived.
Nature shows us that the simplest things are least likely to fail, yet are easily repaired when they do fail. This maxim illustrates my idea of government and provides the basis for a few remarks on the American Constitution.
The American Constitution was noble for its time, and provided much-needed respite from a world overrun with tyranny and disorder. But, that it is imperfect, subject to misinterpretation and incapable of producing what it seems to promise, is easy to see.
Totalitarian governments have the advantage of simplicity; if the people suffer, they know who to blame, what to do and are not confused by discussions of causes and cures.
But the American Constitution has brought forth a body of federal and state laws so complex that the nation has suffered for years with nobody able to say in which part the fault lies. Some say in one portion and some in another, and every political physician prescribes a different medicine.
Though it may be difficult to get over old prejudices, if we examine the component parts of the American Constitution, we shall find it to contain the remains of two ancient tyrannies, together with some new republican ills.
First, the remains of monarchical tyranny in the person of the President.
Second, the remains of aristocratical tyranny in the persons of the judiciary.
Third, the new republican ills in the persons of the legislatures, at all levels of government.
The first two, though originally derived from popular support and selected from the people, now have become independent of the people. In a constitutional sense, they contribute nothing toward the freedom of America.
To say that the Constitution is a union of three branches, reciprocally checking one another, is nonsense.
To say that the Congress is a check upon the President presupposes two things: First, that the President is not to be trusted or, in other words, that a thirst for absolute power is the natural disease of those elected President. Second, that Congressmen, being elected to check upon the President, are either wiser or more worthy of confidence than the President.
But, as the same Constitution gives Congress power to stymie the President by withholding spending power, it gives the President power to stymie Congress by empowering him to veto their bills. Thus, the Constitution supposes the President wiser than those it has already supposed to be wiser than he, a patent absurdity.
There is something ridiculous about the composition of the Presidency: the man is excluded from information concerning common society, yet empowered to act in cases requiring the highest judgment. The state of the office shuts its occupant off from the world, yet its business requires him to know it thoroughly.
How did the Presidency come by a power which the people are afraid to trust and always obliged to check? Such a power could not be the gift of a wise people; neither can any power which needs checking be from God. Yet the Constitution supposes such a power to exist.
But the Constitution is unequal to the task; the means will not accomplish the end. As all the wheels of a machine are put in motion by one, it only remains to know which power in the Constitution has the most weight, for that will govern. Though the other powers may slow its motion, so long as they cannot stop it, they will be ineffectual. The first moving power will at last have its way, and what it wants in speed will be supplied by time.
That the Presidency is the overbearing part in the American Constitution needs not be mentioned, and that it derives its power from being the giver of positions and wager of war is self evident. Though we have been wise enough to lock the door against absolute monarchy, we have been foolish enough to deliver the key to the President.
The prejudice of Americans, in favor of their own government by executive, legislative and judicial branches, arises as much or more from national pride than reason. Individuals are undoubtedly safer in America than in some other countries, but the will of the President is as much the law of the land in America as was the King’s in old England, with but one difference: Instead of always proceeding directly from his mouth by fiat or Executive Order, it is handed to the people under the guise of an act of Congress. The fate of kings of old has made their modern counterparts only more subtle – not more just.
Laying aside all national pride and prejudice, the plain truth is that, wholly owing to the constitution of the people, and not to the Constitution of America, the Presidency is not as oppressive in America as in, say, Iraq or Zimbabwe.
An inquiry into the constitutional errors in the American form of government is necessary. As we are incapable of meting out justice to others while we labor under the influence of partiality, neither are we capable of critiquing ourselves while our judgment is clouded by prejudice.
As a man taken with a mistress is unfit to judge his wife, so any predilection for a rotten constitution will disable us from discerning a good one.
Part II: Of the imperial presidency and hereditary succession.
“(I)t is the republican and not the monarchical part of the constitution of England which Englishmen glory in, viz., the liberty of choosing a house of commons from out of their own body- and it is easy to see that when the republican virtue fails, slavery ensues.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense (February 1776)
All men are created equal, but they need not stay that way. Some become rich and some poor, rarely due either to oppression or by means of avarice.
While wealth may produce oppression, it is rarely attained by oppression. And, though the avaricious may avoid poverty, they generally lack the discipline to attain wealth.
But there is a more significant distinction between men, for which no natural or religious reason can be given: the difference between citizen and ruler.
Male and female are distinctions of nature; good and bad, distinctions of morality. But, how a group of men came into the world so exalted above the other, distinguished like some new species, begs examination. Of equal importance: whether this new distinction is the source of happiness or of misery.
Originally, when there were no rulers in the world, there was no war. Generally, those countries that have continued without strong leaders have been the most peaceful. History as recorded in the Bible shows happy patriarchies, which gave way to Jewish royalty and concomitant misery. Heathens first showed the way with Kings, idolized in their death. Christian nations have done them one better by idolizing their rulers while still alive.
Just as setting one man above others cannot be justified from the natural scheme of things, neither can it be defended in scripture, where the Almighty expressly disapproves of government by kings.
Three thousand years elapsed from the Biblical account of Creation until the Jews sought to replace their republican form of government with a king. Gideon, who prevailed against the Midianites, Israel’s stronger oppressor, rejected the crown thrust upon him, saying, “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you. The Lord shall rule over you.” Gideon properly rejected not only the crown, but also the right of the people, even, to give a crown.
One-hundred-thirty years after Gideon, Samuel also fought against the popular outcry for the naming of a king (so that Israel might be “like other nations”). Samuel noted that, not only would the king take the best of everything then owned by the citizens, “The Lord will not hear you in that day.”
Hereditary succession, in addition to the degradation of accepting an absolute ruler, is both an insult and an imposition on posterity. If all are created equal, then nobody by birth should have the right to set up his own family in preference to others. While one may deserve the honor of his contemporaries, his descendants would only rarely be worthy to inherit that honor.
Hereditary succession includes, not just from father to son, but from circumstance to circumstance, and the whimsical designation of one in power.
The strongest natural proof of the folly of hereditary right is that nature disapproves it, else she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind the likes of George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton or any of the House of Windsor.
As no man should possess any public honors other than those bestowed upon himself, so the givers of those honors should have no right to give away the right of posterity. Though the people may choose one for their ruler, they could not, without manifest injustice, say, “Your children shall rule over ours,” because the next succession might put them under the rule of a fool.
Even true kings, traced to their first rise, likely were nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners earned him the title of chief among plunderers. Hereditary succession, in the early ages of monarchy, could not have taken place as a matter of divine claim, but only endowed with such after the lapse of a few generations, as the result of some trumped-up superstitious tale. Thus was hereditary right crammed down the throats of the vulgar.
The office of the American president has become akin to hereditary right, with very few able to lay claim to it, all of a stripe with differences in appearance only, and all beholden to the moneyed class that selects their number, time and again. None but those so chosen are offered to the citizens in the primaries, so that it is irrelevant precisely who is ultimately elected.
America, since the first revolution, has known some good presidents, but groaned beneath a larger number of bad ones, particularly of late.
It is no coincidence that the Twentieth Century saw the American presidency become a truly imperial office, resplendent with the tokens and privileges of rank previously reserved to the mightiest and richest of kings throughout history.
It is no coincidence that the current American president is but a poor reflection of his father, who occupied that position less than a generation previous, a man plucked from nowhere and anointed with sufficient money and influence to carry through the entire electoral process.
It is no coincidence that the current president’s father was head of the American secret police for a time.
It is no coincidence that the current president was born into a moneyed and privileged family, one which travels in the top levels of society throughout the world.
It is no coincidence that one rumored to be preparing to seek the presidency is the wife of the last man to hold the office.
The plain truth is that the validity of presidential succession in America will not bear looking into.
It is not so much the absurdity as the evil of American presidential succession, which concerns us. As it opens a door to the foolish, the wicked and the improper, it has in it the nature of oppression.
Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind, their minds are early poisoned by importance. The world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests.
The most plausible plea in favor of the American presidency is that it preserves the nation from civil wars. Were this true, it would be persuasive, yet it is among the most barefaced of falsities. Abraham Lincoln, believed to be among the greatest of presidents, fomented and prosecuted the bloodiest war known to America, and the only one fought entirely on its own soil, a civil war of the first order.
Lincoln was the first to gather to the office of the presidency many of the rights, privileges and powers now taken for granted to be a part of the American presidency, yet which had been eschewed specifically by the nation’s founders.
There have been others since Lincoln who have singularly usurped the power of other offices, so that the presidency has become the power unto itself now witnessed astride America. Franklin Roosevelt comes to mind, as do Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. William Clinton seemed a part of the same class until George W. Bush showed what a piker Clinton really was.
The American presidency today is as close to being a truly imperial office as ever it has been. In terms of real power and organization, the American presidency far outstrips the regal reach of any king in history. In terms of effect, the Supreme Court and Congress are nothing by comparison with the executive branch, which employs literally millions of Americans at home and abroad. The presidency has become a virtual dictatorship through the accretion of powers by each subsequent occupant of the office.
The nearer any government approaches to a republic, the less business there is for a ruler. America’s ruler is very busy, indeed. It is somewhat difficult to find a proper name for the government of America. Its constitution calls it a republic; but in its present state it is unworthy of the name because of the corrupt influence of the presidency. By having all the offices of government at its disposal, the presidency has so effectively swallowed up the power and eaten out the virtue of the Congress (the republican part of the constitution) that the government of America is even more monarchical than that of old England.
Men fall out with names without understanding them, for it is the republican and not the monarchical part of the constitution of America in which Americans glory; i.e., the liberty of choosing the members of Congress from out of their own body.
It is easy to see that, when republican virtue fails, slavery ensues. Why is the American constitution sickly? Because the presidency has poisoned the republic, thereby appending the Congress to itself.
Yet, Congress is not blameless in its current ineffectualness. In their own right, Congressmen have become separated from the American public. Generally, only the rich and well-connected can run for office. Only the politically-correct receive the blessings of the media, all of which is controlled by the same moneyed interests that select and fund the presidential candidates.
And they run again and again, never returning to private life, so that they need never feel the heel of the governmental boot brought to bear upon the average citizen’s neck. Term limits are universally stricken by courts that are the lapdogs of the same moneyed interests as previously described, with the result that congressmen continue in the same position in perpetuity, with family members often assuming that position upon the death of their forebear.
And Congress has proven itself to be those moneyed interests’ lapdog, as well, giving over to the imperial presidency all the powers constitutionally prescribed to itself, all the while submitting itself and its employees and functions to executive oversight.
Truly, Congress has ceased to be the sole remaining republican element prescribed by the American constitution.
Part IIIa: Thoughts on the present state of American affairs.
“O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her.-Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind..” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense (February 1776)
In the following, I offer only simple facts, plain arguments and common sense. I ask nothing more of the reader than the setting aside of prejudice and rigidity of thinking, so that reason and feelings alone guide one’s response. Put on the true character of an independent thinker and enlarge your views beyond the present day.
Volumes have been written concerning the emerging American police state. People of every stripe have weighed in on the controversy, from different motives and with various designs. As all have been ineffectual in stemming the growth of tyranny, the debate may as well be closed. Arms, as a last resort, will not decide the matter, save in favor of an imperial Federal government that has overwhelming firepower and resources. Massive group action on the part of the American citizenry is all that now is left to us.
It has been reported that Bush the Second and John Ashcroft have stated that their measures are only of a temporary kind. Should this belief be adopted by the American public generally, our progeny will curse our names hereafter.
The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. Ours is not the affair of a city, a state, a region or, even, a country, but of a continent – of at least one eighth part of the habitable globe. This is not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity is bound up in this contest, to be affected, even to the end of time, by today’s proceedings. Now is the seed-time of a New America, of faith and honor.
By referring the matter from argument to action, a new era for politics is begun. All plans and proposals predating September 11, 2001, are like the almanacs of a bygone era which, though proper then, are superseded and useless now. Whatever was advanced by the advocates on either side of the question then, crumbled with the World Trade Center. Before that time, the only difference was the method of effecting change in American society by working within the system, with one side proposing force and the other friendship. The first has failed due to lapsed opportunity; the latter has withdrawn influence in favor of complete capitulation to neo-conservatism.
Much has been said for conciliatory methods of working within the system, which have now passed away like an agreeable dream and left us as we find ourselves. Now we should examine the counter-argument and inquire into some of the many injuries, which the American public has sustained, and always will sustain, by being subservient to the Federal government. Our task now is to examine that connection and dependence, on the principles of nature and common sense, to see what might become of us, if separated, and what we are to expect, if dependent.
Some maintain that, as America flourished under her former connection with her Federal government, the same connection is necessary for her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing could be more wrong. We may as well assert that the first twenty-year period of our life is to be a pattern for the next twenty. But, even this gives up too much, because I maintain that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, without the burgeoning Federal government upon her back. Commerce, by which America has enriched herself, are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of the rest of the world.
But the Federal government has protected us, some say. Though this is true, consider that the motive was interest and not attachment. Our government has not protected us from our enemies on our own account, but from its own enemies on its own account, often those who had no quarrel with us on any other account, yet who will always be our enemies solely because of the Federal government’s account.
If we could shrug off the Federal government tomorrow, we would be at peace with Islam, though it is at war with our government. The miseries of last century’s wars should be enough to warn us against foreign entanglements of the sort that have become our government’s stock in trade. No Islamic country was, nor perhaps ever would be, our enemy as Americans, but only as we are citizens of the United States of America.
But the Federal government is America’s parent, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their own families; wherefore the assertion, if true, turns to our government’s reproach. But, it happens not to be so, or only partly true, and the words “homeland” and “patriot” have been disingenuously adopted by the President and his parasites, with the low design of gaining an unfair bias by virtue of the weakness of our minds. The Constitution, not the Federal government, is the parent of America.
America once was the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Here they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster. How tragic that the same tyranny, which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.
Much has been said of the strength of America, that it might bid defiance to the world. But this is mere presumption. The fate of war is uncertain, particularly given the prevalence of weapons of mass destruction.
What have we to do with setting the world at odds, one part to another? Our plan from the start was commerce, which, well attended to, would secure us the peace and friendship of all the rest of the world. It has been in the interest of other countries to have America be a free port, a trading partner.
I challenge the warmest advocate for support of the Federal government to show a single advantage to accrue to America by imposing its will on other countries, as it has been wont to do, of late. The injuries and disadvantages that we suffer by pursuit of the Federal government’s policies, both foreign and domestic, are without number.
Our duty to mankind at large, as well as to ourselves, instructs us to renounce the path upon which our Federal government has set us. That path directly involves America in wars and quarrels throughout the world, and sets us at variance with nations who would otherwise seek our friendship and against whom we have neither anger nor complaint.
As the world at large is our market for trade, we ought form no partial connection with any part of it. It is in the true interest of America to steer clear of Middle East entanglements, which she can never do while she is the make-weight on the scale of Israeli politics.
The next war may not turn out like the last, and is guaranteed only to be followed by another, then another. It will take but one debilitating loss for the advocates of conciliation with our Federal government to be wishing for separation then, because neutrality then will be a safer convoy than a battleship.
Everything that is right or natural pleads for separation from the behemoth that the Federal Government has become. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, “It is time to part.”
Our forefathers fled tyranny by coming to America. We have no sanctuary to which to retreat, so the time has come for a division of America into diverse parts, as many as necessary to secure internal peace, quell the current strife and insulate from the current spate of wars those of us who disagree with the policies of the Federal government.
The current authority of the Federal government over America is a form of government which, sooner or later, must have an end. A serious mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward, under the painful and positive conviction that what is called the “present state of freedom” is merely temporary.
As parents, we can have no joy knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure anything which we may bequeath to posterity. Since we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do its work, else we use them meanly and pitifully. To see our duty with clarity, we should take our children in hand, and fix our view but a few years further into life; that eminence will present a prospect which only wishful thinking and self delusion conceals from our sight.
Though I do not wish unnecessarily to give offense, I am inclined to believe that all those who espouse unswerving support of our government’s course abroad may be found among the following descriptions: Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who cannot see; prejudiced men, who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the Federal government than it deserves. This last class, by ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent, than all the other three.
The inevitable breaking apart of America can be seen in the intent of Mexicans, both citizen and ethnic, to retake the southwest portion of this country, including California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Texas, a region which they have already renamed “Aztlan.” The Federal government has facilitated this insurrection by throwing open America’s borders.
Further potential breakups loom as the result of racial strife, born of the very “civil rights” revolution which was designed by the Federal government to quell inequity between the races in America. Instead, that inequity has been redistributed among the populace and increased, with the result that interracial tensions today far surpass any that has ever been known to America.
Regardless, the separation which I advocate today is political in nature, with the Federal government and as much of America that wishes to follow its lead, going in one direction, while the rest of us peacefully retrace our steps to the constitutional republic which once was the singular hallmark of America: New America, if you will. I anticipate that would constitute much of the Midwest, some of New England, some of the South and virtually all of the West that does not fall under Mexico’s sway.
Part IIIb: Thoughts on the present state of American affairs.
“Ye that oppose independance now, ye know not what ye do; ye are opening a door to eternal tyranny, by keeping vacant the seat of government. There are thousands and tens of thousands; who would think it glorious to expel from the continent, that barbarous and hellish power, which hath stirred up the Indians and Negroes to destroy us; the cruelty hath a double guilt, it is dealing brutally by us, and treacherously by them.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense (February 1776)
Many in America are fortunate in being physically removed from the growing tyranny and injustice meted out by the Federal government. The evil is not yet close enough to their doors to make them feel the precariousness with which all of America is now possessed.
Those more passive than others look lightly upon the many recent offenses of the Federal government and, hoping for the best, are apt to say, “Come, come, we shall be friends again, for all this.” But, consider human nature and tell me whether you can hereafter, love, honor and serve the power that has brought such manifest injustice and tyranny to America. If you cannot do this, then you are deceiving yourself and, by your delay, bringing ruin upon your posterity.
Your future allegiance to this government will be forced and unnatural and, being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in time fall into a state more wretched than now.
If you say that you can overlook the transgressions, I ask:
* Has your home been taken from you because you were unable to pay the property taxes they demanded?
* Has your son been arrested and held in a secret place, without charges, now subject to torture and summary execution because he has been labeled an “enemy combatant” by a Federal bureaucrat?
* Have your children been denied admission to a decent school in the name of affirmative action?
* Have you been denied employment in favor of those whose only qualification is their skin color?
* Have your grandchildren been stolen by the state on trumped-up allegations of child abuse, the sole basis for which is the fact that they are not fat…or are home schooled…or are Christians?
* Have your wages been taken in the form of taxes and given to illegal immigrants in the form of medicine, schooling and housing, none of which you can afford your own family in equal measure?
* Have your brothers and sisters been executed in a fiery conflagration such as Waco because they dared to be different?
* Has your son been shot in the back, like Randy Weaver’s?
If you have not, then you are not a judge of those who have. But, if you have, and still can shake hands with the murderers, then you are unworthy of the name of husband, father, friend or lover, and, whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward and the spirit of a sycophant.
I do not conjure up the horror of everyday life experienced by some Americans for the purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from our slumber. It is not in the power of the Federal government to enslave us if we do not enslave ourselves by delay and timidity. The season now upon us is worth an age if rightly employed; if neglected, every American will suffer the misfortune that today inflicts the few among us.
It is repugnant to reason that America should longer remain subject to the grasping power that its central government has gathered to itself. Reconciliation to this government is a false dream. As Milton wisely said, “never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.”
Every quiet method for peace has been ineffectual. Our pleas have been rejected with disdain by the courts at every level. Our petitions have only tended to convince us that nothing flatters vanity, or confirms obstinacy in our government more than repeated petitioning. Nothing has contributed more than such pointless entreaties to the consolidation of power by Kings in other countries in times past. Since it appears that nothing but blows will do, let us come to a final separation and not leave the next generation to be cutting throats for the sake of violated family members.
It is not in the power of the Federal government to do America justice. It has become too weighty, intricate and inextricably bound up with the affairs of all men to afford even a modicum of the freedom upon which America was founded. There was a time when a central government over us all was proper…and there is a proper time for it to cease.
There is something absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island the size of the District of Columbia. In no instance has nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet. As America now reverses the common order of nature, it is obvious the time has come to effect a separation between America, for those who wish to extend the current state of affairs, and New America, for those who wish to reenter the constitutional republic that once was all of America.
I am not moved by motives of pride, party or resentment to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence. I am clearly and conscientiously persuaded that it is in the best interest of all Americans to effect this separation; that anything short of separation is mere patchwork that will afford no lasting peace; that it is leaving the sword to our children and shrinking back at a time when a little farther, a little more, would deliver to this continent a lasting peace.
As the Federal government has manifested not the least inclination toward a compromise, we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy of acceptance or justifying the tyranny and injustice to which we already have been subjected.
If all of America must take up arms, if every man must be a soldier, it is scarcely worth our while to fight against a contemptible ministry only. Dearly would we pay for the repeal of Acts and Executive Orders, if that is all for which we fight. It is as great a folly to pay a Civil War price for law, as for land. The inevitability of this government’s demise, whether by hands domestic or foreign, makes the waging of war against our own government like the wasting of an estate upon a lawsuit to evict a tenant whose lease is just expiring.
No man wished more to work within the system than myself, before the fatal eleventh of September 2001. The moment the events of that day were made known to have occurred, at minimum, by sufferance of our own government, I rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Executive Branch of American government forever. Taken together with the sure knowledge of our government’s complicity in the Oklahoma City Bombing, Waco and Ruby Ridge, along with a host of lesser-known indignities to our national conscience, I disdain the wretch with the pretended title, Father of His People, that he can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.
But, even assuming we could make our peace with the Federal government today, what would be the result? I answer, the ruin of America, still – for several reasons:
First, the powers of governing still being concentrated in the hands of the President, he will have a negative influence over the whole legislation of America. As each occupant of that office for the past 150 years has shown himself to be such an inveterate enemy to liberty, and discovered such a thirst for arbitrary power, the President is not a proper man to say, “You shall make no laws but what I please.”
Is there any inhabitant in America so ignorant as not to know that, despite the American Constitution, no laws can be made but that to which the President gives leave? After all is said and done, can there be any doubt but the whole power of the Federal government will be exerted to keep the common man as low, subservient and humble as possible? We are already freer than the President wishes us to be; will he not hereafter endeavor to make us less so?
Is the power that is so suspicious of our freedom a proper power to govern us? Whoever says “No!” to this question is a separatist, for separation means no more than whether we shall make our own laws or whether the Presidency, which is among the greatest enemies this continent has, shall tell us, “There shall be no laws but such as I like.”
The citizenry of America is only secondary in the system of American politics. The Federal government advances the good of the people no farther than serves its own purposes. Our government’s interest leads it to suppress the growth of ours in every case which does not promote its own advantage or in the least interferes with it.
To show that reconciliation now is a dangerous doctrine, consider the following: it would be advisable for the President at this time to repeal the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and the many Executive Orders issued which have further bound the population of America, for the sake of reingratiating himself with all the people of America. That way, he might accomplish, via artifice and subtlety, in the long run, that which he will not be able to do by force and violence in the short one. Reconciliation and ruin are nearly one and the same.
Second, even the best terms which we can hope to obtain amount to no more than a temporary expedient, which can last no longer than until America is taken by force by its foreign enemies, whose number have become legion. Even now, citizens have begun to dispose of their effects, moving to remote portions of the country, with some emigrating to other countries altogether.
But, the most powerful of arguments is that nothing but true separation of America will keep the peace and preserve it inviolate from civil war. I dread the event of reconciliation with the Federal government now, as it is more than probable that it will be followed by a revolt somewhere or other, the consequences of which may be far more fatal than all the malice of Washington, DC.
Part IIIc: Thoughts on the present state of American affairs.
“I make the sufferers’ case my own, and I protest, that were I driven from house and home, my property destroyed, and my circumstances ruined, that as a man, sensible of injuries, I could never relish the doctrine of reconciliation, or consider myself bound thereby.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense (February 1776)
Thousands of Americans have been ruined by their government’s invasive, intrusive and tyrannical behavior. Thousands more, perhaps millions, will suffer a similar fate in the times ahead. Their experience of reality is different from those of us who have suffered nothing. They certainly have nothing to lose by refusing now to submit.
Many of us refuse to question our government’s actions, fearful of a similar outcome. We believe we have much to lose, but have already forfeited the most important of our rights in refusing to stand for the fundamental rights of our countrymen.
A government that cannot protect us, that cannot preserve the peace, is no government at all. Many have declined to foster confrontation, fearful that a civil war will result. There is ten times more to fear from the government at the end of our current path, and a civil war thereby more certain, than from the consequences of choosing another path altogether.
I take the part of those maligned thus far. If I were similarly situated, I could never support the government that has so blatantly torn asunder the lives of its own citizenry.
If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence from our imperialistic government, it is because no alternative yet is offered. Men do not see their way out. As an opening, I offer the following, while affirming that I have no desire of them myself, other than they might be the means of giving rise to something better.
Let us form a New America, forged from as much of the country as becomes desirous of change. Let there be a parliamentary form of government, with the current Constitution modified only somewhat to serve as its charter, the modifications to ensure the limited scope and reach of the central government.
Convene at first a Constitutional Congress for the purpose of amending and adopting the Constitution, with its membership chosen by popular vote, each member elected by a particular and equal portion of the general citizenry.
Upon adoption of the Constitution, this body to dissolve and legislators, governors and other elective officeholders to be selected by popular vote, as prescribed.
Let the States be more like sovereigns themselves, with no necessity for overriding statute or authority, save only as is necessary to allow the central government the performance of its limited duties of common defense.
Let the right of secession be absolute and evocable on the vote of 75% of the -population of any definable geographic region. Let the assemblies be annual, concern themselves solely with domestic affairs and their membership serve without pay or benefit of any sort. Let there be no recurring occupancy by any member, not even of differing position. These strictures are to apply to State and local elective office, as well.
Let the senate be of two houses: the Senate composed solely of men, two from each state; the House of Representatives, comprised solely of women, will total the same as the Senate, with its membership elected by districts made equal on the basis of population.
Let the assemblies select the Executive, whose tenure will be for a single one-year term, unpaid and without benefit, other than living arrangements, whose function will be administrative and procedural, with no ability to negotiate with foreign entities or enter into treaties and no ability to originate or suggest legislation at any level. All foreign entanglements, which will be constitutionally discouraged, must be individually entered into by the States.
A similar representative form of government is to be guaranteed to the states and local municipalities. States’ rights will be supreme, with the right to move between states absolute.
States may hold no more than 5% of the land of a state in local or state name. Central government land holdings are forbidden.
Government pensions, welfare and individual or corporate subsidy of every type to be abolished and forbidden at all levels of government.
All practicing lawyers will be disbarred. All existing judges will be discharged. All existing statutes and case law to be forgone. Lawyers will read for their positions, in the time-honored manner of bygone eras. Judges will be drawn from the ranks of lawyers, to serve in their area of specialization without pay or benefit each month, for that percentage of time necessary to satisfy the requirements of justice. Juries will decide all questions of fact and law, with sentences and verdicts executed immediately. Lawyers will be forbidden from holding elective office. The right to a jury for any proceeding will be absolute, with secret proceedings forbidden.
Victimless crimes will not be prosecuted. There will be no hate laws. Prisons will be segregated racially.
English will be the official language, with all governmental proceedings conducted solely in English.
The existing school system will be abolished, to be replaced by community-based schools, with teachers compensated directly by student parents.
Civil rights will be absolute, with no preference to be shown by any government, at any level, to any individual for any reason. Individual and private discrimination shall neither be illegal nor discouraged.
Immigration will be an issue for each State to resolve. Illegal immigrants and their progeny to be ejected immediately upon adoption of the new Constitution.
The rights to assemble, freely associate or not, travel, be free of governmental intrusion, privacy, bear arms, free speech and the free practice of religion in any and all venues to be inviolate.
The income, sales and property taxes will be abolished, with governments required to exist upon the proceeds of tariff and import/export taxes alone. A strictly balanced budget will be required of every government entity, especially the central government, every year. Local use districts may be formed upon approval of 75% of the affected population.
No business monopolies are to be allowed. Unions are forbidden. Death sentences may be meted to corporations for grievous crimes. Media enterprise, particularly, is to be dispersed, with no concentration of more than 1% total ownership of a particular medium in any single person, group or entity.
All able-bodied members of society are considered potentially to be part of the militia, with participation strictly voluntary. A modest uniformed, all-volunteer military force will be maintained for the common defense only, and strictly prohibited for non-defensive use within the borders of the States.
The dollar will be repudiated, to be replaced by government-minted gold and silver coins. Any and all currency will be produced by the central government and strictly backed by 100% value holdings in precious metals. Central banking is prohibited. Fractional-reserve banking is prohibited.
A government of our own is our natural right. It is wiser and safer to separate the country now and peacefully select its governing charter, than to trust such to time and chance. Else, one may hereafter arise who, laying hold of popular disquietude, may collect together the desperate and discontented and, by assuming to themselves the powers of government, may sweep away the remaining liberties of the continent like a deluge. Should the government of all of America continue on its current path, there will be a temptation for some adventurer to try his fortune and effect a coup, taking the current structure of government as his own to use in a manner most oppressive.
Ye that oppose separation now, ye know not what ye do. You open a door to eternal tyranny by keeping in the seat of power that faction which has stirred up the groups of this country, one against the other, whereby it deals brutally by one and treacherously by the other.
Every day wears out what little remains of kindred between us and our masters. Can there be any reason to hope that, as the relationship expires, the affection will increase or that we will agree better, when we have ten times more and greater concerns over which to quarrel than before?
To those that urge harmony and reconciliation: can you restore to us the time that is passed? Can you give to prostitution its former innocence? Neither can you reconcile America and New America. The last straw has been tossed. The government now prepares further to oppress us.
There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature if she did. The Almighty has implanted in us these inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of His image in our hearts. They distinguish us from the herd of common animals. The robber and murderer would often escape unpunished, did not the injuries which our tempers sustain provoke us into justice.
O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and America hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.
Part IV: Of the present ability of America, with some miscellaneous reflections.
“The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a Spaniel.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense (February 1776)
I have never conversed with anyone related to the Movement who has not seen a wholesale revamping of America’s government, if not America’s outright breakup, as inevitable. The present course of foreign imperialism, welfare, citizen control (oppression), economic opportunism and privilege for the few leads inevitably to economic catastrophe and revolt.
As so many agree as to the event, but disagree only as to its timing, let us take a general survey of things and endeavor, if possible, to find out the very time. But we need not go far. The inquiry ceases at once, in fact, for the time has found us. Inevitability has a way of bringing things to a head.
Many bewail the fact that we seem so few in the face of the overwhelming masses of government agents and employees. It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies. Besides, should the government move against us in wholesale form, masses of the American population will rise up in number sufficient to repel the force of all the world.
America has, at this time, the largest body of armed and disciplined private citizens of any power under Heaven, should armed force become necessary. Huge portions of the government’s forces will refuse to fire upon us and, instead, will join with us against the sweeping tyranny then apparent for all to see.
The present government never will allow formation of an organized citizen militia. Witness what has been done in the face of small forms of organization, as at Waco. Never will we be allowed openly to organize or form an effective resistance force. Even now, the government is taking opposition leaders, our leaders, into custody and jailing them on sundry manufactured charges. What it fails to realize is that its enemy is an idea, a spirit, generated by its own tyranny. For every leader taken away and jailed on trumped-up charges, ten more will take his place.
At present, we have little to defend, therefore little defense is necessary. If we actually possessed a foothold for our people, the more would we have to defend – and lose.
Neither have we debts, for the massive indebtedness of the current American government is attributable to the very forces arrayed against us. When the time comes, the assumption of debt in furtherance of our cause will be worthy and worthwhile.
For now, to expend millions for the sake of getting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the present Administration, only, is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity with the utmost cruelty because it is leaving them the great work to do, with a debt upon their backs, from which they derive no advantage. Such a thought is unworthy a man of honor and is the true characteristic of a narrow heart and the peddling politician.
America is burdened with a total debt of upwards of twenty-seven trillion dollars, for which she pays interest of over a trillion dollars. Another twenty-two trillion dollars’ debt burdens private American companies and individuals. Somewhat less than another trillion dollars’ interest, for a total of about two trillion dollars in interest alone, paid primarily to bankers, most of them foreign, a sum equal to the entirety of the American government budget today and approximately one-third America’s total annual economy.
America’s current budget deficit is one-fourth that paid in interest, or about five-hundred billion dollars. A similar figure is the amount by which America’s foreign trade deficit grows each year, representing the outflow of American assets to foreign shores. Another four-hundred billion dollars is spent on America’s military, primarily in support of foreign imperialism and intervention in the affairs of other countries; funds spent on destroying other economies, all while many of America’s citizens do without the necessities of life.
A cancer both foreign and hostile to America sits astride her, sucking her dry and directing her policies and government to ends inconsistent with those set forth by her founding fathers. This is our real enemy, make no mistake. Most of those employed in the service of the American government are ordinary people, like any other, people who will rally to our cause when the time comes.
That portion of the American government which will oppose us past the point of open and notorious tyranny is small. We will have a force greater, by far, should that dark and fateful day befall us.
Some say that we can reform government – just pass the right bill, repeal the appropriate act, elect the right president. Then, once we have made it up with the federal government, it will protect us. Common sense will tell us that the power which has endeavored to subdue us is, of all others, the most improper to defend us.
The average American’s knowledge of government tyranny and oppression, both domestic and foreign, is hourly improving. Resolution is our inherent character and courage has never forsaken us. Wherefore, what is it that we want? Why is it that we hesitate now to demand our own portion of American, free from rule by the federal government? From the federal government we can expect nothing but ruin. While it holds sway over us all, this country will not be worth living in. Jealousies always will be arising; insurrections constantly will be happening.
The economic fortunes of the average citizen, perhaps, has not yet declined sufficient to engender a passion for change. Trade being the consequence of population, men become too much absorbed thereby to attend to anything else. Commerce diminishes the spirit, both of patriotism and military defense.
History sufficiently informs us that the bravest achievements always were accomplished in the birth of a nation. With the increase of commerce, America has lost its spirit.
Notwithstanding her numbers, America submits to continued insults with the patience of a coward. The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a Spaniel.
Youth is the seed time of good habits, as well in nations as in individuals. Now is the time for New America to be formed and separated from those who wish to continue the policies and plunder of Old America. However, the vast variety of interests occasioned by an increase of trade and population has created confusion.
When William the Conqueror subdued England, he gave them law at the point of the sword. Until we form a New America, immune to the tyranny and oppression now afoot in the land, we shall be in danger of having the seat of power filled by some true and awful despot, who will treat us in the same manner. Then, where will be our freedom? Where our property?
Some say that despot already has assumed power, thus more the need for us to move swiftly. Bush the Second has engineered passage of the Patriot Act and the Homeland Defense Act, blueprints for tyranny passed by the Congress without even being read. Should the general American electorate know the contents of these Acts and the manner of their adoption, it would not hesitate a moment to think its elected representatives unworthy of their trust. Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things.
To conclude, however strange it may appear to some, or however unwilling they may be to think so, matters not, but many reasons can be given to show that nothing can settle our affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for separation of New America from America.
First, it is the custom of nations, when any two are at odds, for some other powers, not engaged in the quarrel, to step in as mediators. While we call ourselves a part of America, no power, however well disposed she may be, can offer her mediation. In our present state, we may quarrel on forever.
Second, it is unreasonable of any foreign power to lend us their support if they suppose it will go to merely mending our internal relations, thereby strengthening America; those powers would thereby suffer by the consequences.
Third, while we profess ourselves to be a part of America, we must, in the eye of foreign nations, be considered as rebels. The precedent is somewhat dangerous to their peace.
Fourth, were a manifesto to be published and dispatched to foreign courts, setting forth the miseries we have endured and the peaceable methods we have ineffectually used for redress; declaring, at the same time that not being able, any longer, to live happily or safely under the cruel disposition of the American federal government, we had been driven to the necessity of breaking off all connection with her; at the same time, assuring all such courts of our peaceable disposition towards them – such a memorial would produce more good effect to this country than if a boxcar were freighted with petitions to Washington, DC.
Under our present denomination of American citizens, we can neither be received nor heard abroad. The custom of all courts is against us, and will be so, until by independence, we take rank with other nations.
Just as America allows Mexicans to hold dual citizenship, that of Mexico and America, and Israelis, of both Israel and America, so should we now designate ourselves citizens of both America and New America. We must concentrate ourselves geographically in those portions of America most likely to be allotted to a New America in a breakup of the country, just as Mexicans have concentrated themselves in Southwest America, which they have taken to calling Aztlan. Already, fully a quarter of the productive white population of California has left in the past decade, resettling mainly in Northwest America, thereby providing an example to us all.
Until a separation is effected from that portion of America over which the federal government will continue to hold sway, we will feel like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it must be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.
New America – an idea whose time has come.
“I didn’t say it would be easy. I just said it would be the truth.” – Morpheus
Edgar J. Steele, January 2003