Sunday, October 15, 2017

Two Problems with “General Welfare”

Let us assume for the sake of discussion that you are the parent of a three year old boy.

One day you, as a dutiful and attentive parent, sit your son down and tell him one of the most important rules he needs to follow is, “Don’t wizzle-wig the ruddy rods!” He smiles back at you because he’s a good kid and says, “Okay.”

So one day a couple of weeks later you come back to your home to find it surrounded by the fire department, burned to the ground. Fortunately your son and spouse made it out unharmed before it blew up. Yay!

Inquisitively you ask the fire chief what happened. More likely you ask him what the hell happened, or some other expletive, but this blog is meant for the young as well as the old, so I won’t fill it with my ability to talk like the salty old sailor that I am. You get the point. You ask what happened.

He looks at you as if he were a bit miffed and says, “Didn’t you explain to your son how important it is to not wizzle-wig the ruddy rods? What the (expletive) kind of parent are you?”

You look at your son and ask him, “Did you wizzle-wig the ruddy rods?”

“No,” he says slowly. After a bit of a pause he says, “what’s a ruddy rod? And what’s wizzle-wig?” After all, he’s a really bright kid and catches on to the problem before you did.

Let us say, for the sake of conversation, that “ruddy rod” means “gas valve on the stove” and “wizzle-wig” is a verb meaning “to play with.”

The problem isn’t that the house burned down. The problem isn’t that your son was playing with the gas valves. The problem isn’t that you are a bad parent. The problem is that you failed to define the terms of a rule and thus rendered it unfollowable. The house blowing up wouldn’t have happened if you’d defined the terms of the rules.

So we arrive at one of the most very basic principles of law, which I’m hoping you’ll forgive my paraphrase; all laws and rules, in order to be functional or enforceable, must have their terms defined and understood if they are to be followed.

If you ever find the need to read a law you will find that there is no lack of definitions. You may or may not understand them and have to look up long chains of words before the meaning is clear to you, but you can be assured any judge or lawyer—at least a good one—does understand the terms of the written laws as they apply to them. It could be some law as minor as a parking ticket or as major as first degree murder. You can be certain to find the legal definition of a parking space or first degree murder in the laws that are supposed to deal with them.

So here I am one day talking about the funding for National Public Radio (NPR) with one of my relatives and her friend. I make the point that nowhere in the Constitution is there federal authority to take money from taxpayers for the funding of such an organization. Yes, big surprise, National Public Radio is not in the Constitution.

The response I got was, The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;”

It’s a good thing, I guess, that I managed to persuade a liberal to actually quote the Constitution. Who’d have seen that one coming? Right? I was so shocked this clause was known that for a while I didn’t know how to respond.

So here’s the second problem. Apparently, at a cursory glance, the liberal got it right. But I’m not the kind of guy who just sits there and takes it for granted that just because someone answered a question it is the right answer. After all, teachers tell us all the time when we’ve got our answers wrong. Don’t they?

Let’s say that Hillary Clinton is quoted as saying in a debate, “Joseph Stalin was a great leader, according to his followers.”

Then let us say that Donald Trump responds with, “Hillary Clinton says ‘Joseph Stalin was a great leader,’ in spite of the fact that he was a brutal mass murderer and dictator!”

That would be dishonest, right? Expletive-ing right it would be! 

Well, Hillary Clinton, in this hypothetical example, did say Stalin was a great leader. Therefore anybody who doesn’t bother to think it through and look up the actual full quote can be mislead into thinking Hillary Clinton would actually support the rule of someone like Joseph Stalin. Oh, I think she would anyway, for other reasons, but I digress.

Do you see the problem here? Trump’s—again, hypothetical—statement was out of context because he only took a fragment of the sentence as important, and assigned his own meaning to it, which had nothing to do with the original meaning. So here’s another basic principle; context matters to people who want accurate communication and truth. You may—or may not be—surprised as to how often this tactic is used in politics.

Now if you combine the absence of understanding of the above two principles, with the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution, you would immediately understand how the federal government and its spending is so far out of control.

Here’s problem number one. This statement is out of context; The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;”

It is a small fragment of a sentence. Its meaning is entirely different in the context of the whole sentence, which is this:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; To establish Post Offices and Post Roads; To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Yes! That is a single sentence. Notice the period at the end of it. Notice that there are no other periods throughout it. And I assure you, that is the way it is punctuated on the original document. Granted, today’s grammar school teachers would mark the student issuing such a sentence as a run on but in those days this kind of writing was typical. You will find each of these clauses is separated into stand alone lines to make this single sentence easier to break down and understand. That only gives the impression, falsely in my opinion, that each clause stands alone in meaning and application.

There are some clauses of this sentence that can stand alone without the meaning changing, this is true, but there are some that cannot be extracted without shifting the meaning or changing it entirely. Remember the first of my two principles above; all laws and rules, in order to be functional or enforceable, must have their terms defined and understood if they are to be followed.

Look very closely at this; “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;"

What does the term “general Welfare” mean in this clause? You can look at it and think you know what it means because of your tendency, a natural human tendency, to fill in the gaps of things you don’t know with the things you do know. We all do it unconsciously and automatically, sometimes never realizing when we do it. It’s an assumption based on your considerations of what you think would be good for society, but it is not written law.

Now here’s the issue here; you cannot point to any legally binding definition without referring to something other than the actual text of this clause. What exactly is meant by “general Welfare” is not in this fragment of the sentence.

“General Welfare” in this sentence fragment could mean anything. You might think it means “Single Payer Public Heathcare.” You might think it means “Social Security.” You might think it means “treadmills for shrimp.” You might think it means “feeding the poor.” You might think it means “National Endowment for the Arts.” You might think it means any number of a million-billion things you can think of that would be good for society. And you might be right that most of them are good for society if they were to be done outside of the authority and force of the federal government and its big guns.

It’s good to take care of people’s health. It’s good to take care of the old and disabled. It’s good to do scientific research. It’s good to feed the poor. It’s good to support artists—and I say this because I am one, please send me your money!

You are a good person for caring about such things and thinking they are good. And to that extent I agree with you.

But for President Andrew Jackson the “general Welfare of the United States” meant the Trail of Tears leading to the deaths of thousands of Indians for the sake of land and gold. For President Grant the “general Welfare of the United States” meant the initiation of a war, that some might call genocide, against the Indian tribes who were in the way of the Transcontinental Railroad. For President Franklin D. Roosevelt the “general Welfare of the United States” meant the rounding up 120,000 Japanese American citizens, confiscation of their property, and placing them in “internment camps,” which were little better than the mass prison camps in the horror stories of other countries.

For the sake of the undefined “general Welfare of the United States” President Lincoln waged a very clearly unconstitutional war, which was the bloodiest in American history, and suspended the right of habeas corpus by the wrongful imprisonment of tens of thousands of Americans who spoke out against him, supposedly for the purpose of eradicating slavery. Never mind the fact that if that’s what he wanted to do he should have found a peaceful way to do it without killing more people than we could count! So for the “general Welfare of the United States” the most recent guess on the “Civil War” is 750,000 dead Americans, whether you agree with the cause and actions or not. And that number is only the military related deaths. It does not count the deaths of the people, slaves or not, civilians, who died from disease, exposure and starvation as a result of actions like Sherman’s March and Sheridan’s total destruction of the Shenandoah Valley. For the “general Welfare of the United States” Abraham Lincoln gained a record for the destruction of life that exceeds the deaths caused by Idi Amin!

Anything, anything, anything, ANYTHING!!! can be justified under the terms of undefined “general Welfare.” If you can imagine it, it can be done. I’ve only given four examples from American history above, but there are more. Included in the above four examples are a complete denial of human rights and liberties of people who are both American citizens as well as those who aren’t. The Bill of Rights is meaningless when confronted by the undefined concept of “general Welfare.” You, your life, your rights, the rights of your family, all demonstrably mean nothing to the self-righteous causes of the masses of people under the specious reasoning of “general Welfare” when it has no definition other than what you imagine it to be.

The “general Welfare” of any country throughout the world, throughout history, has always been the openly stated cause of brutal tyrants. Even Hitler thought he was doing what was right for the “general Welfare” of the German people and the race of humanity throughout the world. He said so, frequently and in his own words. (There you go liberals. Now you can say “Ashton supports Hitler!!!” Sigh ….)

A lot of people talk to me about this or that “interpretation” of the Constitution. I find it better to simply read what’s there without putting my own thinking or bent of nature into it. There are things it says I wish weren’t there. There are things I wish it did say that it doesn’t. The fact is it says what it says. It doesn’t need “interpretation.” You just have to read what’s there and understand it.

 “Interpretation” to me, as person who would rather know the truth of a subject, seems an awful lot like the simple method of liars. If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with bull. Never have I found a person who cries about constitutional interpretation taking in the full context with accurate definitions. Always what I do find is that they’ve inserted some program, benefit, or entitlement; they themselves have a vested interest in, which isn’t there.

It’s just too bad the General Welfare clause doesn’t have something that defines exactly what the founders meant by it, so we don’t have to interpret it. You know, something that acts as a guideline for what general welfare means and keeps the federal government acting within its clearly defined authority. Isn’t it?

Here’s a hint for you then. I’ll make it subtle so you’ll be forced to think about it with all possible erudition.

READ THE REST OF THE SENTENCE!!!

It may or may not represent the government you would wish and hope for in the wildest of your dreams. But it does represent the government that we are supposed to but don't have.

And by all means tell your son not to play with the gas valves on the stove!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Theft and Civilized Society

Many cultures of people across the face of the Earth have rules which generally apply to the keeping of a civilized society. In Christianity there is the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.” If you are a Scientologist you have in the thirteenth Way to Happiness, “Do not Steal.” One of the disciplines of Hinduism is, “No desire to possess or steal.”

While there are many other religions that have incorporated within them this idea that it is wrongful to steal the possessions or money of other people it is not just a religious concept. Almost every country, state, province, municipality, or any other division of government with a functional legal system across the face of the Earth has very thoroughly incorporated within it laws designed toward the prevention of theft.

It is a logical underlying principle of all laws, secular or non-secular, that in order to be enforced the terms of the laws must be defined and understandable by those who are expect to follow or enforce them. I could at this time write some fifty or sixty thousand words of examples of this directly taken from many various legal codes throughout the world but that would be unnecessarily pointless and complicated. So in my own typical writing style I will create an example of what I’m talking about that everybody can understand. That way in layman’s philosophical terms we will all know what we are talking about.

Let’s say I need some money and I know you have some. In knowing you have some money I decide to walk up to you and politely ask you for it. In your kindness and generosity you ask me what my need for it is and upon agreeing with my need you give your money to me. Is this theft? No. Of course not.

Okay, now let us assume you again have money and in the keenness of your perception you see my need without asking and again with your kindness and generosity you just decide to walk up and give it to me. Is this theft? Again, no. Of course not.

Now let’s suppose I need money and I know you have some. I, in my need, walk up to you, punch you in the face, knock you down, kick you and take your money. Is this theft? Yes. Of course it is.

Again let us suppose I need money and I know you have some. I, in my need, walk up to you, and simply threaten to knock you down, kick you, and take your money. And you believe I could accomplish the task, so rather than having me beat on you, you give me the money. Is this theft? Yes. Of course it is.

And just one more time, let’s suppose I, in my need for your money, get a bunch of people to surround you, threaten you somehow, and take your money, instead of just doing it myself? It this theft? Yes. Obviously.

So from these five examples we can derive for ourselves, for the sake of discussion in the philosophic sense, what theft actually is. Theft, simply put, is the transfer of money or property from a donor to a recipient, under force or threat of force, against the will of the donor. That last part is bold in italics because it is the most important part of the sentence. In determining theft it is the will of the donor of the property or money that decides the issue. You cannot steal something which is willingly given. And you cannot call something charity that is taken against the will of the donor.

Just for the fun of it let’s see if there is a way around this “will of the donor” thing where we could possibly fool ourselves into believing we aren’t just taking someone else’s money.

Let us suppose I need money and I know you have some. I, in my need, walk up to you, abduct you, and lock you in a small room until you decide to give me the money I want. Does this get me around the idea that I’m taking your money against the will of the donor? Nope.

How about in the same scenario as the latest above I simply threaten to abduct you and hold you in a small room until you, in the belief I could do it, give me the money I want. Nope. It’s still theft.

Hmmm … What if I am not taking the money for myself? What if I need the money for someone else? What if my father has been sick and I need the money to pay for his medical bills, so I come over to your house with my gun and threaten you until you give me the money. Certainly because compassion for the needs of my father is involved, you would not consider it theft. But nope. It still is, by definition above, theft.

Well what if I, before going over to your house to threaten you and take your money to pay for my father’s medical bills, go around to every neighbor on the block, explain the situation and take a vote as to whether I should go to your house and take your money? You vote no and everybody else votes yes. I show up at your door, threaten you with my gun and take your money. Am I still taking money from the donor against his will? Yep. Is it still theft? Yep.

Okay, maybe that’s too direct. What if I do all of those things in the last paragraph but instead of me showing up at your door to threaten you and take your money I hire someone else to do it for me? That person can just take what I owe him for the task—seeing how I have no money—directly from the money he takes from you and give the rest to me so I can pay my father’s medical bills. Would I still be taking money from the donor against his will? Yes. Is it still theft? Ummm … yep. It is.

Maybe that’s still too direct. What if I get together with the rest of the neighborhood and elect someone to hire someone else to go to your house with a gun and threaten you and take your money and give it to me to pay Dad’s medical bills? Am I still taking money from you against your will? Yep.

Well then, how about if, instead of sending someone to your house with a gun the first time, we first send someone without a gun to threaten you with abduction until you pay? And then, should you be unwilling to cough up the cash, we send the second person with a gun to lock you in a small room until you change your mind about the situation? Is that still taking money against the will of the donor? Yep.

What if I do all of the above paragraph but instead, send you a threatening letter saying how you should give me your money, then send the first guy, then the second? Or better yet, I could send you a letter that if you don’t sign it admitting you owe me the money, I will send the first guy without a gun, then the second guy with the gun, then put you in a little room until you give me the money you owe me? That way when you accuse me of stealing money from you I would be able to present the court with a piece of paper that says you owed me the money. Is that still taking money from an unwilling donor?

What if we elect a bunch of people to decide your money should be taken from you to pay for my father’s medical bills, and those elected people hire someone else to send you letters, threaten you without guns first, then if you are unwilling to pay they hire someone with a gun to threaten you, and still unwilling to pay they slap you in restraints and haul you off to a small room until you decide to change your mind about the situation? Is that still taking money by force from an unwilling donor? Yep. It is.

So what if I say that instead of using the money to pay for only my father’s medical bills it is to pay for everybody else’s medical bills, plus ten thousand other things you may or may not approve of,  too? We then elect a bunch of people to decide your money should be taken from to pay for everybody’s medical bills, and those elected people hire someone else to threaten you without guns first, then if you are unwilling to pay they hire someone with a gun to threaten you, and still unwilling to pay they slap you in restraints and haul you off to a small room until you decide to change your mind about the situation? Is that still taking money by force from an unwilling donor? Yep. It is.

Now what if we take this entire assembly of elected people and the people they hire to threaten you, take your money, and potentially incarcerate you, all against the will of the donor and call them a government? And what if we infuse into the population the idea that the people are all one and any one is all? And what if we fill their heads with the rather arrogant thought that they, as one person in concert with a simple majority of other people, and against the will of the minority of people in opposition, can somehow speak with authority about what other people should be forced to do with their money? For example: “I think we should spend money on people’s medical bills,” in spite of the fact that it, strictly speaking, is not money you’ve earned for yourself, and have that concept legally binding on unwilling donors forced with threatened incarceration to give up their well earned funds. Is this still taking money from people against the will of the donor?

Well what if while doing all of that we say that those people who have a lot of money have no right to it anyway? What if without any evidence whatsoever, we simply accuse them of stealing it from someone else and have the government take it from them to pay for everybody else’s medical bills? What if we accuse them of being greedy? What if we say they have the responsibility to pay for the needs and arbitrary desires of everybody else, for the good and “General Welfare” (which can mean anything to anybody) of everybody else? What if for no reason whatsoever, based on a purely arbitrary standard, we say it isn’t fair that they have so much and we so little? Are we still taking money by force from unwilling donors? More than that though, at that point aren’t we also saying that there are no individual rights to property or money?

What if we say the poor are weak and the rich are strong so the poor have every right to fulfill their needs by taking money from the rich? Yes, again we are using the threat of force to take money from unwilling donors. But more than that there is the fallacious idea that the poor are somehow weak; while as a majority of people somehow still possess enough power to take what they want from the rich.

Socialism is the consideration that large groups of people have the right to take what they want from small groups of people. Theft is the taking of money from one person for the use of other people against the will of the donor. It does not matter who justifies it or how it is justified. It is still the idea that it is somehow a right of yours to take what was earned by and belongs to someone else. It is also the idea that somehow your majority rights matter and the rights of the minority of donors don’t.

In spite of whatever illusion you throw up in front of yourself to justify it and appease your guilty conscience, by taking money from unwilling donors, whether it be for someone’s healthcare or PBS, you are participating in a culture that will sooner or later experience the uncivilized attitude that the rights of individuals and minorities don’t matter when the interests of the masses are concerned.


And in that light I would also ask you if it is it truly a civilized society when that society can justify, directly or otherwise, the threat of guns and say you must share?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Socialism is Simple and Predictable

It is said in certain philosophical and scientific circles that you are on the path to truth when you can reduce the subject under study to its most simple form. The expression of this idea is the very definition of Ockham's Razor. This level of thought is where axioms are formed, answers to problems occur, and things become really obvious. Over the years I've given some thought to the philosophical principles of socialism and all that it implies. The reasons for this, given the current path of the United States, should be clear. Also for the sake of clarity, what I'm talking about is the idea, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," and all forms of government that form around it.

Socialism is simple and predictable.

No matter the country or the specifics of the form it always requires four things. The first is the consideration that it is perfectly okay for large groups of people to take what they want from small groups of people. The second is a promise of financial equality between economic groups and thus everybody will be taken care of between the classes of people. The third is a government, with power over the lives of the people, to enforce the first two by law. The fourth is a population gullible enough to believe that if they give power over to someone else, they themselves will benefit from it.

The predictability of the eventual outcome lies in the simple facts of human nature. People—while having equal rights—are not equal in talent, and thus resent the enforcement of equality, and so when confronted with it will just stop trying to excel or support the system with their inherent abilities. People also naturally resent other people who wield power over them. Additionally, no matter how sincere the expressed efforts of the government promising financial equality and care for all, sooner or later some real tyrant will gain control of the power over the people and take advantage of them. Thus two things will almost always happen sooner or later. First, the government will be unable to provide what they promised, leading to huge social upheaval. Second, a lot of people will die in the social upheaval.

All conversations regarding socialism, or redistribution of wealth, or fairness, or leveling the playing field, or taking care of the poor, elderly or children, or any of the resulting consequences, fall somewhere in those two paragraphs. The first paragraph, regardless of the specifics, is how and why a country adopts socialism. The second paragraph, regardless of the specifics, is how and why it always results in the same thing.

You could break it down as thus and call it the Ten Principles of Socialism:
1) The consideration that it is perfectly okay for large groups of people to take what they want from small groups of people.
2) The promise of financial equality between economic groups and thus everybody will be taken care of between the classes of people.
3) The government, with power over the lives of the people, to enforce the first two by law.
4) The population gullible enough to believe that if they give power over to someone else, they themselves will benefit from it.
5) The predictability of the eventual outcome lies in the simple facts of human nature.
6) People—while having equal rights—are not equal in talent, and thus resent the enforcement of equality, and so when confronted with it will just stop trying to excel or support the system with their inherent abilities.
7) People naturally resent other people who wield power over them.
8) No matter how sincere the expressed efforts of the government promising financial equality and care for all, sooner or later some real tyrant will gain control of the power over the people and take advantage of them.
9) The government will be unable to provide what they promised, leading to huge social upheaval.
10) A lot of people will die in the social upheaval.

So there you go. Right there are the ten principles of socialism. There is nothing more to say about it because there is nothing else that can be said about it. Anything a person thinks is an exception to any of the above, or anything supposedly new about it, is merely regurgitating one or more of the above in different words.

Don't trust me on this. Look at any conversation regarding philosophical socialism and see for yourself that all that can be said about it falls under those ten things in some way or another.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Moron Rights

Oops! Did I just mis-type the title of this article? What I meant to call it was "More on Rights" because I write about rights a lot—and I would never suggest that people who don't agree with me about the subject are morons!

Okay, now that I've gotten that bit of sarcasm out of the way I can write a very serious article about the definition of rights. It frequently crosses my mind when I talk with liberals that what they understand rights to be is drastically different than what I understand them to be. I guess for future reference I could qualify their concept of rights with some descriptive and colorful adjective to separate it from what I mean, just for the sake of clarity. So I guess I'll call them...hmmm...okay, "moron rights." That works well enough.

I don't mind paying taxes for things like the military, police and even things such as roads as long as the money is used with expected efficiency. I can use those things and benefit from them, as does the rest of the society. The kinds of taxes I don't like paying is anything that comes from me, because it is somehow their "right" to receive my money, and spend it on something that benefits only them.

I was talking with one of my more respected liberal friends the other day and have a bit of the conversation sticking in my mind. She said she didn't mind paying taxes that go to the benefit of other people for things like healthcare and welfare and the like.

Okay. Far be it from me to tell people what they should or shouldn't mind. I've read enough about slavery in the American South to know that some people didn't mind being slaves either. The point is, I think, that whether you mind it or not, you still don't have a choice.

Anyway, their "right" to receive my money and spend it on themselves for things like food, housing and healthcare, is a leftist concept of rights which I will now separate into a different class. "Moron rights." Now I have to be clear what I'm talking about here. Food, housing and healthcare are rights, if subjected only to my choice and I pay for them myself. That's not what they are talking about though. They are talking about using my money for their food, housing and healthcare as being their right. I suppose I could call them something more politically correct like, "grossly misunderstood rights," but that doesn't exactly flow from the tongue. It's not a very good pun either.

Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ...."

So why is there so much contention on the simple subject of rights?

The problem for this country begins with how liberals have re-defined the words of Thomas Jefferson.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

President Reagan's First Address to Congress: Constitutional Score, 74.1%

I occasionally take a lot of critical fire for being so hard on President Trump for his seemingly unconcerned stance regarding his following of the Constitution. To date I’ve rated and published three expressions of his policies and positions according to my current understanding of the Constitution; Trump's First Address to Congress, Trump's First Inaugural Address and Trump's First Hundred Days Plans. None of these rated particularly high; 52.6%, 36.2% and 51.5% respectively. The method of scoring is included in the links above.

Please understand that these efforts are not for the purpose of attacking the president. This is not a personal thing against him. I simply regard it as my duty as an American citizen, sworn to the support and defense of the Constitution, to know when our political leaders are feeding us lines intended to subvert it.

In the interest of fair comparison and logical evaluation it becomes necessary to compare these numbers with the numbers of other presidents in similar circumstances. The only president which I’d ever done something similar was Abraham Lincoln, and even that wasn’t a rated evaluation.

So in the interest of providing comparisons I decided to do several other president’s speeches, starting with Ronald Reagan’s First Address to Congress on the 18th of February, 1981. I also intend to do at least one of President Obama’s just to get the radical left wing comparison.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trump's First Address to Congress: Constitutional Score, 52.6%

Sigh. This is the kind of article no author ever wants to write. With that said, I am a man who is committed by oath to the defense of the Constitution, thus there is no escaping it.

Let me say at the outset of this review of President’s Trump’s address to Congress that I’m am not necessarily a Trump supporter. Neither am I particularly against him. In fact, I’m quite happy and relieved that he won over Clinton. President Trump is neither conservative—meaning small government—nor concerned with the Constitution in spite of his recent oath to uphold it. Where he does score high with me is that he tends to make liberal’s heads explode. Anybody who can make Chuck Schumer cry is deserving of some credit.

While I could never vote for him I am not a Never Trumper because such people, mostly establishment RINOs, would hate him even for the things he can do right. I am not a Democrat; they would hate him—in spite of the fact that I think President Trump most properly would be a Democrat—for the unforgivable sin of putting an “R” next to his name and beating Hillary. I am a Constitutional Conservative which means ONLY two things; small government, under the Constitution. If you have to categorize me in hash tag terms I am most properly defined as #AlwaysConstitution. In this I guess you could call me an extremist; so be it. I once volunteered my life in oath to its defense so I might as well defend it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Axioms of Government

A number of years ago I wrote an article for my blog called, “The Rules of Money,” which covered in my mind a set of my own axioms regarding how I think of money and the ways in which it seems to work. As fate would have it, it is my most popular article.

I think that liberalism, for most people who adhere to the modern big government philosophy, is composed of large sets of misunderstandings of the nature of just how certain societal level systems work. Among those is, of course, a misunderstanding of what money is. Another major flaw in the understanding of those who would support big government is the true nature of what government is. To them, they support it because it has presented itself as a system of providing benefits to the People. In spite of this apparency nothing could be further from the truth as far as its actual nature is.

So in the same spirit as my axioms regarding the rule of money, I most humbly offer my rules of government. It should be noted that these axioms are more of a commentary on the way things are, rather than the way things have to be. I do this in the hopes that in pondering these points I will disabuse a few liberals of the supposed benefits of giving any group of people the power to control us all in everything we do.

I’m fairly certain that some are going to think me rather cynical in my viewpoint of the government as represented by these axioms. The thing is I can think of many examples where the government has behaved exactly as these rules say. Furthermore I can think of almost no exceptions to them.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What do You Want the Government to do?

I consider myself to be somewhat of a professional troll hunter. Why I do this is more complicated than I have the time or inclination to explain here. So for now, it is what it is.

Since the election of Donald Trump the field is ripe for fellow troll hunters if you’re into constitutional political philosophy like I am. In today’s blog post I offer the nomination of our new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Another fantastic subject for use as troll bait is the president’s ending of the National Endowment for the Arts. Really. You can just mention either of these things, completely without context and the trolls will bite. Reel them in and do battle as you see fit. And have fun!

However today I don’t wish to talk about trolls. I’m going to talk about people whom I love and respect, who just happen to be somewhat liberal.

I have always maintained that there are two types of liberals.

There are those behind the liberal-progressive-socialist-communist or whatever they call themselves today movement, who can’t openly say who and what they are, because they are so evil society would reject them. This kind of person wakes up in the morning and their only thought is, “everybody dead, then I can be safe.” They are the driving force behind genocide. Their goal looks like power or money but is not complete unless you take into consideration what they would do with that power. The answer to this question is simple and obvious, yet very difficult for anybody who possesses even the slightest nugget of sanity to confront. They want you dead. Period. There is no reason for this other than the fact that you exist outside of their own will. They are quite insane, sometimes very clever, and very covert in their methods. They can smile at you with seemingly obvious sincerity and tell you that what they are doing is “for your own good.” They are “trying to help make society better” but somehow it just doesn’t work out that way—so you should give them more power, so that they can be more effective at changing things for the better.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

President Trump's First Inaugural Address: 36.2% Constitutional

Well I've taken my post election break from all things political and now it's high time that I write an IWFTCP review of President Trump's First Inaugural Address.

I have done this kind of thing before on this blog and the rules for my scoring are explained here. But just for the sake of this article, red is constitutional, blue is unconstitutional. Also, as I have explained in other posts, I have no personal like or dislike for Donald Trump or any other politician. My sole interest is in almost all political conversation is the Constitution of the United States, which I have sworn with my life to defend. Try as I might it is my sincere effort to not make personal comments for or against the politician in question. Regarding President Trump, I think he is a better choice than Obama was or Clinton would have been, but that does not give him points for understanding or following the Constitution. He's a businessman, and thus understands money, which is something we need in this unit of time. However, long-term, with regards to the rights of the American People and the responsibilities of the presidency under the Constitution, well, you'll see...

At the outset I'm going to give the score as only 36.2% of the things he said having anything to do with the constitutional power of the federal government; assuming I counted correctly.

And don't get me wrong here; there are a lot of things in this that I've colored blue, as unconstitutional, which would be good for the American People, particularly businessmen, to do. It's often not the thought that these things shouldn't be done. It's just that they shouldn't be done by the president of the United States or the federal government.

So here it is. President Trump's First Inaugural Address...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nice Men with Guns

I have a friend on Facebook who said this to me this morning; "I would like to support a constitutional government but at some point you are going to have to deal with mean people that do crappy things to other people through threat of violence and intimidation."

While that statement is true it got me thinking. Look at this; the threat of violence and intimidation is the only thing the government has to use to accomplish anything. No matter what it is that the Big Government wants to do, no matter what benefit they say it would be to everybody involved, the threat of violence and intimidation is the only tool they have to get it done. And how often is it that the mean people who are doing the crappy things to other people, are in the Big Government? That's what despotism is. You want to limit mean people that do crappy things to other people using such tactics? Then the first thing you have to do is limit the power of the government. Tyranny IS the threat of violence and intimidation.

Now I am not saying that there should be NO government. Brett's rule of debate #1 is; just because I don't agree with something does not mean I endorse what you conceive to be its opposite. Just because I don't support absolute government does not mean I support no government. No anarchy for me please. As a the grandson of a nice man with a gun I have to say right here and now that I have the greatest unqualified respect for the police and the government within their proper function. There is a time and place for police as well as other government functions.  It's just that we are becoming far too accustomed with the idea that the government is supposed to provide us with everything, without understanding the nature of the consequences. If they provide everything, they control everything, even when they don't make sense.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rights and Responsibilities

I would like to stake a claim towards being a dedicated supporter of human rights but I'm a little (okay, a LOT!!!) apprehensive about it. Being misunderstood bothers me sometimes and I want to be very careful about being taken in the same light as the Generation Snowflakes that are currently falling throughout the country.

Where the current crop of Snowflakes have it wrong is they have no understanding of what rights really are and their relationship to our responsibilities. From my own point of view I can’t see how it would ever be possible to have rights as a human being here in our world without the corresponding responsibilities. There seems to be a lot of muddled thinking on these lines, some of which comes from both sides of the isle and all points in between.

By analogy you could say that it is yellow snow which I refuse to eat.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Don't Fight the Power, Question It

I had a curious—and very short—conversation on Twitter last week. You know, sometimes it's just the little things that bother me, and sometimes those little things that bother me stick to me for a really long time, particularly when the little thing is connected to a gigantic principle.

The question I asked was; "Under what clause in the #Constitution is the authority for the president to do anything about jobs?"

The reply was; "There is none Brett. However, the Constitution does not restrict the president from doing things to help either. Are you anti-Trump?"

You see what I mean here? Every president and smarmy politician in my fifty-four years of life has been talking about jobs, jobs, jobs. Every. Single. Effing. One. Of. Them. They have failed so dismally that it is a wonder more people don't tell them to mind their own job instead of all of ours...but I digress.

Okay, I get it. Donald Trump won. He's in the limelight, and honestly, I'm very relieved that Clinton lost. I know the guy who responded to my tweet doesn't know me personally, but for all the noise about the federal government trying to create jobs, I still find it alarming to have someone jump immediately to the possibility of my being "anti-Trump," especially when I didn't even mention him.

The simple Twitter answer for me was; "I'm pro Constitution. If Trump follows it, cool. Although the 10th amendment means POTUS doesn't have that authority."

But I think a more in-depth answer to that question of possibly being anti-Trump is called for, so I will just go ahead and write one.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Worst President Ever

It is said in some circles of philosophy that any person really only begins to decline when he abandons his principles.

It is also said that there are certain underlying principles which have to be maintained or freedom can't exist. You have the right to associate, which means for it to be a right, you also have to have the right to disassociate. What freedom could you possibly have if once you decided to join up with somebody for any noble purpose, when that purpose is abandoned, you can't sever the ties to them?

The fundamental principles of slavery are that you can't leave when you wish and the fruits of your labors are taken from you, against your will, for the benefit of someone else.


The United States was founded on the principle that the people's of the States could join or not, of their own free will. The Constitution did not have to be ratified because there were the guns and bayonets of General George Washington's army pointed at the people. The Framers of the Constitution debated exhaustively and formed a government which was voluntarily consented to and contributed to, by the People. It is the only time in human history that I'm currently aware of where this has happened.

In the 1860's several States decided to declare their own independence. Whether we agree with this decision or not is moot. They have the same right to leave or not leave the Union, based on their own integrity, as any wife has to leave any man whose marriage is no longer suitable to her. They have the same rights as any person who has ever left the partnership of a company. They have the same rights to leave as any individual or anybody who has ever left any friendship or employment. They have the same rights as anybody has ever had to leave any political movement with which they no longer agree.

Without that basic right, to sever the ties that bind you to any other person or group of people, freedom cannot exist. From the moment military force becomes involved you are chained by force to whatever they decide, no matter how disadvantageous it may be to your own existence.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The United States, Ver 3.0: One Nation—Under Force

Do you realize that the United States, as it exists today, is the third country to be called the United States of America?

In the beginning we were British. It is one of those little inconvenient truths of American history that we have to live with and sometimes forget. It was just one really big unhappy empire. Their government was ours. Their people were ours. It, because of our remote nature, was never a really happy arrangement. This does not obviate the fact that we were the same people of the same country.

Then, for reasons I won't explain here, came the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War against the British, followed shortly by the first United States constitution—The Articles of Confederation.

That country, as it existed in the beginning, was the United States, Version 1.0. It's constitution was only enough to keep the several States together and participating in the war effort.

Incidentally, when the Colonies were finally granted their freedom by the British, they did it by granting independence to them, individually, naming all thirteen colonies as independent countries. More than that, under the Articles of Confederation, the States were regarded as different and separate countries. They even had different money from State to State. The only drawback was that the system under the Articles of Confederation wasn't working very well and they were in imminent danger of falling apart and being conquered on all sides.
 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump's First Hundred Day Plans: IWFTCP Constitutional Score, 51.5%


In my last article, How to Destroy the Two Party System: IWFTCP Principles, I mentioned a method of highlighting the text of a political speech or article to point out the parts that do or don't follow the Constitution. This is an example of the method I have been working on for a while; although I haven't published any of them except this one yet. There may be a lot more of these in the future because it seems like it might be a good way to make my point.

If you are sympathetic to the IWFTCP and its goals, and you want to score a couple of speeches or statements of politicians to see how they rate, go ahead! If you do one that seems particularly enlightening and of high public interest, contact me, and if it seems consistent I'll publish your work here with full credit to you.

The idea here is that the red text is where the use of government powers are mentioned or assumed that objectively follow the Constitution according to my current understanding. It is important to understand that, per the Tenth Amendment, in order for a mentioned power to be colored red, that power has to be specifically mentioned within the Constitution. Blue texts are mentions of the use of federal power that have nothing to do with anything named within the constitution.

The Tenth Amendment [10A] comes up a lot. Sometimes red, sometimes blue. Where it is red it indicates a power being given up that has nothing to do any power the feds are supposed to have. Where it is blue is a mention of federal power that should be left to the States and/or the People being taken by the federal government in spite of the Tenth Amendment.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Destroy the Two Party System: IWFTCP Principles


There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. — John Adams

Are you tired of the two party political system? I sure as hell am!

It's interesting that the idea behind forming the political parties was so people who have common sets of political values and interests could group together, work together, and influence the government to pass law in accordance with those values. Republicans are supposed to be conservative, such and such, while Democrats are supposed to be liberal, so and so, and Libertarians, well, they are supposed to be as little government as possible.

While I tend to be closer in my political philosophy to the Libertarians, or the Republicans when they are doing what they promise to do—which never seems to last very long—I have recently discovered something about them all that shook my world. They don't exist to help you influence the government to pass laws according to your values. They exist to get you to compromise your values until whatever is left is in accordance with their goals for themselves.

It is not about you. Ever. It is about them and their power and how they can twist what you want, so that you support what they want, with little or nothing left of what you wanted for yourself.

Look at the primary process of both of the major parties.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Four Debates: Very Little Constitution and America Missed the Point...Again

(I wrote this, obviously, just after the debates between Trump and Clinton, and their VP choices. However I still think a lot of the underlying principles apply now as well as into the future. As such, I will continue to post it. Thank you for your interest!—Brett)

As a presidential candidate and founding member of the I Will Follow the Constitution Party (IWFTCP) I tend to look at presidential debates through a slightly different lens than most Americans. Of this I am certain. I don't think in terms of what a president can do for me or give me, unless it would have something to do with my constitutional liberty. In the hopes of furthering my cause I offer my own estimation of the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.

It should be mentioned here that the main purpose of a president, under Article Two, Section One of the Constitution, is contained within the presidential oath. "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."

As we know each of these debates was an hour and a half long, totaling six hours, give or take a couple of minutes. In that time there were only sixteen mentions of the Constitution.

For the sake of definition I divided these mentions into two classes. The first being direct mentions, where the candidate said the word "Constitution." The second being indirect mentions, where the candidate said something like "unconstitutional" or "constitutional."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Keeping the Constitution Working

When I announced my run for the presidency in 2016 I also announced the formation of a new political party to support myself and other candidates who may be like me; dedicated to the following of the United States Constitution. The name of this party is hereby officially the, I Will Follow The Constitution Party, or abbreviated the IWFTCP. I also think it necessary to produce a set of rules for those who wish to join my political party. That is the purpose of this post.

Here at the I Will Follow The Constitution Party there is really only one hard and fast rule. You must, in all things related to the federal government of the United States, without apology or excuse, follow, and insist that all members of the federal government, as well as those running for federal office, follow the Constitution of the United States, in context, and as it is written. Okay, that's a rather complicated sentence so the short version is that you must follow the Constitution. Always.

That's it. There are no other rules, restrictions, qualifications, or any of that other tripe that other political parties engage in to try to force you to comply with the values of their life. There is no "moderate" or "conservative" or "liberal" or any other thing like that here. It's completely binary; Constitution one hundred percent with no alternative. We here at the IWFTCP, while being supportive, or not, of whatever other values you do or don't have, don't give a rat's ass for whatever else you believe, or not. Or maybe we do, but it's none of our freaking business anyway, because we only have one business—the following of the United States Constitution.