Do you need to change your mind? Maybe even just a little bit?
What if it was necessary to save the nation?
Our nation has been divided on purpose by people who would rather see us be weak. With just a little bit of adjusted thinking, however, millions and millions of us could be remarkably united about getting things back on track.
This page will evolve as we go. Its purpose is to detail various ways in which the nation needs to change its paradigms (“measuring sticks“). What you’ll see below are some scattered thoughts about how various mindsets or party philosophies could be tweaked to great effect. They are in no particular order.
The Point of Unity
Many bewail the multitude of divisions between Americans. One doesn’t have to wait long before he hears yet another person pleading, “Can’t we all just get along?!” But just what are we expecting to be unified about? Did you know that the Constitution was what united the nation in the beginning? That’s right. The Constitution was the thing about which they were all in agreement. They even agreed to bind themselves by the rules on how to change the Constitution if they didn’t like certain parts of it. With just a little bit of effort, we could come to think that way again, too!
And if ever there were a good time for it, it would be now—before we crash!
Some say our Constitution is outdated. One recent president even called it “a goddamned piece of paper”. Meanwhile, our current president, though he boasts a degree in Constitutional Law, doesn’t seem to recognize that the Constitution limits the powers of the Federal Government! So before we go around repeating all the bad press the Constitution is getting, perhaps we could at least read it for ourselves!
Have you ever noticed that some people are quite adamant about violations of one constitutional amendment, but ambivalent about another? For instance, one guy is up in arms about his state forcing him to pay a tax before they’ll allow him his constitutionally-guaranteed right to keep and bear arms, and yet he also thinks that the USA Patriot Act is “good for the country”, and that people who “don’t have anything to hide don’t have anything to fear” when it comes to warrantless searches of their homes, papers, computers, etc. Meanwhile, the guy across the street vehemently opposes the Patriot Act while wishing that the government would come and “get the guns”.
Why is this? Shouldn’t we want to live in a law-abiding nation where the government obeys all its own laws? We simply must change our paradigms in order to put the Rule of Law above our own opinions on various matters. In this present example, if one or the other of these amendments is bad for the country, then we had better get it amended. And if we can’t get the necessary support, then it was the clear intent of the Framers that we simply would not get our way!
Making good time!
Many frustrated Americans were quick to welcome “change” simply because of the overwhelming sense that the nation was going nowhere fast. Just because things are bad, it does not mean that just any old change will be a good one! Perhaps we should take a more comprehensive view of what course the nation ought to be taking! And the Constitution, of course, is just such a view.
Opinion vs. Law
American Author James Fennimore Cooper made a great observation when he wrote:
“It is the besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law.” (From On the Disadvantages of Democracy, The American Democrat. 1838)
We have been conditioned to do this, and unfortunately, we are very good at it! Someone asks, “Do you think we should stick with last year’s federal education budget this time around, or should we increase the spending significantly?”. Then we tend to launch into a debate on whether the US Department of Education is effective or not, and what would make it better. Rarely do any of us stop to think that no branch of the Federal Government is authorized by the Constitution to do anything whatsoever about education. Isn’t that the fundamental issue, then?
Even the bravest warriors in the back-to-the-Constitution movement make this mistake. The interviewer might ask the following question, and get the following answer in return:
Question: “Is it true that you’re in favor of doing away with the US Department of Education?”
Answer: “Well, it’s just a terrible department. It’s terribly inefficient, and we spend more money on it each year, with worse and worse results. We end up sending a lot of silly unfunded mandates to the States, and it’s just not smart to centralize education under the Federal Government. Oh, and by the way, the Federal Government is not authorized by the Constitution to have anything to do with education.”
Here’s what the answer should be:
Answer: My own opinion about the DOE is irrelevant. What really matters is that the Federal Government is usurping powers that were left to the states or to the people. This must stop immediately and the Federal Government must shut down that department and repeal any education laws it has passed. And if anybody thinks that the Constitution should be amended to allow the Feds to get involved in education, I can give you several reasons why that’s a really bad idea.
Opinion is an unreliable guide for a nation. We need laws instead. And we have them! If you’re grasping for a handle on the situation, let us suggest the Constitution!
“The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.“ (From the Constitution Party Platform—emphasis added.)
What if the Constitution Party would make one simple adjustment and acknowledge that the part in blue is properly handled at the state level? Wouldn’t that naturally tend to relieve friction between the Constitution Party and some others on the Federal level? In fact, wouldn’t their goal in blue become a lot easier if all they had to do was to work on the state level toward this end? Isn’t it because of illegal Federal intervention in the affairs of the states that certain activities (offensive to the Constitution Party) that used to be illegal in the states are now protected as “rights”? For instance, since the Supreme Court legislated from the bench in Roe v. Wade that abortion is a woman’s “right”, the states have been thus prohibited from their previous prohibitions thereof. So what if the Constitution Party simply went after putting the Federal Government back on its proper leash, and then addressed these types of moral issues at the state level–in keeping with the clear intent of the Framers?
“The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.“ (From the Libertarian Party Platform.)
What if the Libertarian Party would make one simple distinction in keeping with the clear intent of the Framers of the Constitution? What if they would recognize that the Constitution grants the States—and not the Federal Government—the rights to legislate moral issues as they see fit? What if they would then insist that the Federal Government get out of the morality business and leave that to the states? If this simple paradigm shift took place, and if the “social conservatives” also made the same shift, then wouldn’t folks from both groups be able to work together to put the Federal Government back in its strictly limited role? Sure, there would still be plenty of moral issues to fight over, but it wouldn’t be happening on the Federal level. Instead, folks would do their best to influence the states in which they live to see things their way. Win or lose, however, this is far better than having a lawless Federal Government usurping such powers!
Like Herding Cats!
It is often said of Libertarians (and perhaps other groups) that getting them to work together on something is like trying to herd cats. Whatever the reason behind this, we must not fail to notice its implication: that this is a political philosophy that, when considered on the whole, is dysfunctional. That is to say that even if there are a thousand excellent and serviceable tenets to one’s political philosophy, if part of that package is not to cooperate with others to influence government, then the whole of the package is doomed to failure. Simply put, a political philosophy that is wholly self-interested cannot survive unless it develops a healthy sense of synergistic collaboration with others. And this is fairly obvious in our system of government, for the voting is done by all. Therefore, if one wants to influence the voting of the majority, he must work together with others to get that done.
Just imagine, for example…
Imagine, for example, what would happen if the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party would each adopt the view of the Framers with regard to the legislation of moral issues being left to the States or to the people! Even though they might never agree on certain ones of those moral issues, they would be in complete agreement at the Federal level, and could work toward the same goals. The Libertarian Party has over 200,000 registered members, and the Constitution Party has over 384,000. Together, that’s nearly 600,000 people who, with just a slight shift in their thinking, could make quite an initial splash in bolstering the back-to-the-Constitution movement! If each of them adopted the Rule of Law Revolution and became active promoters, we could have six million in a very short time!
Yellow Dogs and Dyed-in-the-Wool
Many of us have considered ourselves loyal party members for so long that we don’t put a lot of thought into the individual issues any more. Instead, we just take the larger view that our party’s platform is generally better than the other party’s platform. The Rule of Law Revolution, however, calls for a different way of measuring these things. Instead of party, it looks to law. That is, does the candidate want to overstep the limits of his legal authority or not? An estimated 51% of registered voters tend to vote for Democratic Party candidates, while 38% tend to vote for Republican Party candidates. If the paradigm were shifted from party to the Rule of Law, however, we’d see a whole new class of candidates coming about—candidates who didn’t emphasize party at all, but the re-institution of constitutional obedience as the national priority.
Have you noticed, by the way, that both parties have their own favorite ways of violating the Constitution and of shirking the full duties of their offices? Maybe party is not the answer after all!
Our Wonderful Two-Party System
Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention any number of parties—nor the word party itself. Further, George Washington adamantly warned against the party spirit as he left his office. Did he know something we don’t know?
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, …. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. (From the Farewell Address, 1796)
What if we didn’t think “party” anymore? What if we cleared our minds and looked instead to the individual issues?
Labels Are Not Helping!
We have a national fascination with labels, and yet we don’t seem to mind that they rarely serve to define exactly what we mean! Consider these for a moment:
liberal, conservative, left-wing, right-wing, progressive, social conservative, Reagan Republican, NeoCon, Republican, Democrat, Moderate, centrist, fiscal conservative, RINO, far left, far right, etc.
None of us agrees completely with anyone else. Therefore, it never quite works to use most labels, as they simply fail to name every relevant thing about a person. Do all “liberals” agree on all matters? How about all “conservatives”? Of course they don’t! Yet we insist as a nation on using this kind of imprecise language. The effect of it is to foment divisions—even when we’re not certain why we’re divided.
Regardless of what we believe, therefore, what if we all pulled for the Rule of Law as a way of life for the government? From there, we could each work toward amending the Constitution as we see fit. I think we can all recognize that we do indeed share some philosophies in common. Only under the strict Rule of Law can we see to it that our governments are equally protecting all citizens. We simply cannot afford to turn a blind eye when the government errs in our favor, for the next time, it may well err to our detriment.
How’s that going for you?
It’s easy for us to get a little overconfident in our own political self-concept. But from time to time, we ought to step back and ask just how that’s going. Are we getting anywhere? If not, maybe it’s time for a new approach.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket!
The nation’s current bent toward uniformity is dangerous. We should not want all the states to be exactly the same in every law and every policy. Rather, we need the states to be free to create their own successes and to make their own mistakes. Let’s say that some state passed a law requiring public schooling for all children starting at 6 months of age. In time, terrible effects of such a policy would become obvious, and the rest of the states could learn from this mistake in judgment without having to have been plunged into the error with the first state. But when the Federal Government intervenes in such things by passing such laws, they make all states vulnerable to the chance that the new mandate will be a bad one.
Big Boys and Girls!
Some folks are in the habit of thinking that we “need” the Federal Government to tell us how to live our lives and that the states are simply unable to succeed without Federal oversight. We at the ROLR, however, think that the people of the states are big boys and girls who can learn from their own mistakes and analyze their own needs just fine without Federal help. Could it be that we’re right?
“The lesser of two evils”
American voters (stereotypically speaking) believe firmly that it is a serviceable political strategy to choose “the lesser of two evils” when they vote. This means, of course, that we are constantly electing candidates whom we do not expect to do a good job! Does this even sound smart? Imagine if we just changed this idea to “I refuse to vote for someone that I wouldn’t be thrilled to see in office!” As long as we continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, we are maintaining a viable market for “lesser” candidates. We must break this harmful cycle of thinking and insist on something far more excellent.
“But we can only vote for the candidates they give us!”
Are we really that helpless and pitiful? Seeing that it’s getting worse with each election cycle, can’t we revolt against the “they” who give us such lawless candidates over and over? Did you know that the Constitution says nothing of our “wonderful two-party system of government” that is so frequently touted by our elected officials and the mainstream media? We have entrusted to these party institutions the duties that we, ourselves, were supposed to execute; we let them have influence over the candidates who are supposed to represent us!
And it’s simply not working. The nation is failing while the political pendulum continues to swing predictably:
The cartoon below shows what’s really happening in this incessant “political race”, and why it doesn’t matter much which party prevails:
A New Breed of Candidate
We need to create a new “market” for a new breed of candidate. Having millions of signatures on the Voter’s Pledge can help to embolden candidates like this one:
Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
Here’s something really strange about us Americans. If someone steals a car here, he’s probably going to jail. But if a person asks thousands or even millions of people to entrust him with a role in their government, and then after being elected, he exceeds the limits of his powers, abuses the people’s money, or fails to use his full powers to keep the rest of the government from abusing the people, we quite often vote him right back into office! Go figure! Isn’t it the greater injustice to ask for the trust and then to betray it? We should insist that all those who break the law in office are never allowed to serve again, and that they go to jail if that is the proper sentence for their crimes.
Neither “D” nor “R” is the problem. And neither is the answer!
When Washington makes a mess of things, it’s not because the elected officials have Ds or Rs behind their names; it’s because they’re violating the Constitution. All we have to do is to observe closely for a while to see that the officials of both parties regularly violate the Constitution. The Democrats have their favorite ways to violate it, and the Republicans have their favorite ways. And the really scary part is when they agree on violating it! So if you think that things are a mess now that the Democrats are in power, just remember that the reason they won is that the country saw what a mess the Republicans made of their last go ’round. Either way, we’re still headed down the slippery slope if we keep electing people who are more proud of their parties than they are of the Constitution.
If we think things are bad now, the enemy is not the “Democrats”; it’s all those who are violating the Constitution. So if we’re adamant that things ought to be different come 2010, we might take an honest look into the past to see that the Republicans are just as much to blame for our decline as the Democrats. If those who consider themselves conservatives are short-sighted, they’ll fall into the trap of trying to win in 2010 just for the sake of seizing power again, and not for wholesale reform. What’s the point in having an election if there’s nobody running who plans to turn things around?
The Cost of Liberty
Our governments overstepping their powers has cost us dearly. Americans now pay a great deal more tax than did the first citizens of our nation. Indeed, if their taxes were suddenly raised to our levels, they’d have revolted immediately! Even so, many Americans show a reluctance to donate to political causes such as the Rule of Law Revolution. If the ROLR succeeds, the financial benefits to all Americans will be significant—certainly in excess of the few dollars that someone might donate. Donating to ROLR, therefore, is like an investment. We hate having to ask for money, but the sad truth is that there is no other way!
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