A Declaration of Constitutional Consent
On July 4, 1776, the US Declaration of Independence was signed and started with “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another….” Our founders witnessed the oppression natural to all governments if left unchecked by the governed. The course of human events brings us to today, where we face another critical crossroads in American history. This Declaration is intended to serve as a current version of what our founding fathers signed in 1776. It is not intended to replace it, but to augment it and list the grievances we the people, have concerning today’s overreaching Federal Government. First, we must understand what liberty meant to the writers of the Declaration of Independence. Second, we must understand the limited role of the federal government in the American Republic. Third, we need to identify those means by which the current scope of the federal government violates the intent of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Finally, we list grievances justifying our actions to reduce or eliminate most federal powers as they serve to undermine the Republic, not preserve it, and are not derived from the consent of the governed.
American Liberty as the Founders Understood It
The founders of our nation gave us some good insight into how they valued and defined liberty. “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because the law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” (Thomas Jefferson) Liberty was not defined by Jefferson as the right to act within the law but to do any act that we wish if it does not directly prevent the rights of others. Thomas Jefferson was not referring to “rights” like free healthcare or any other perversion of the idea, but the natural rights he gave examples of in the Declaration of Independence: “[All men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” We also must not overlook Jefferson’s important assertion that any violation of the rights of the individual to do any action according to their will – if it does not violate another’s same right – is the act of a tyrant. “I would define liberty to be a power to do as we would be done by. The definition of liberty to be the power of doing whatever the law permits, meaning the civil laws, does not seem satisfactory.” (John Adams, Letter to J. H. Tiffany, March 31, 1819) Again, the law does not define liberty. Liberty is outside man-made laws, exists on its own, and the only constraint, says Adams, is the golden rule. Mankind can never legislate that perfect morality, no matter how many laws it uses to prod and constrain itself.
“Liberty is the power to do everything that does not interfere with the rights of others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every individual has no limits save those that assure to other members of society the enjoyment of the same rights.” (Thomas Paine, Plan of a Declaration of Rights, 1792) Our nation’s founders believed liberty was inherent in humanity, given by the Creator. The only point of constraint is the point where liberty ceases to be liberty because it revokes another’s liberty. For example, one does not have the liberty to steal because it revokes another’s liberty to own. This is exemplary of our founding father’s philosophical understanding that natural laws are those that perfectly exist without our input.
The United States Government was Established to Preserve Liberty. The tyranny of King George III was simply denying colonists their own natural liberty by executing a force of government that was outside the consent of the governed. The American founders knew that government was a natural and necessary creation of a free people and gave their consent to establish a system to protect the individual’s natural rights within a society. They also knew that government was a dangerous fire that always expanded toward tyranny. A proverb of their Revolutionary time was, “Government is like a fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
When the colonists were forced to pay even a small tax that was created without any representation of their interests, they knew their government had become destructive to its own purpose, but the list of grievances eventually grew beyond what anyone could call “light and transient causes,” demanding abolishment of the ties to such a government, even if through violent revolution. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes… Declaration of Independence
Our Government is Destroying Liberty
The consent of the governed was given only to establish and maintain a government for the express purpose of maintaining “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. Does our government still serve that purpose, or has it become destructive to that purpose? Clearly, it has become destructive to the cause of liberty.
Americans are less free to speak what they will and do what they wish every day, and the oppression of liberty is growing at an exponential rate. Many Americans welcome all suppressions of liberty when they are done in the name of safety, financial equality, or in exchange for anything “free,” such as healthcare or education. Patriots, though, understand that liberty should never be exchanged for any other comfort or inferior ideal. Wise people understand, through observation of history and tyranny, that every despotic government offered the same exchange to its eager citizens, to their own destruction.
“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” (Edmund Burke, Speech at Country Meeting of Buckinghamshire, 1784)
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” (Benjamin Franklin, Speech to the Pennsylvania Assembly, November 11, 1755)
“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Colonel Edward Carrington, May 27, 1788)
No man is free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness when the surplus of his efforts, abilities and good fortunes are not his to be enjoyed. No system that takes, at threat of force, from one man to give to another as it sees fit can claim to hold liberty as its core.
Today, Socialism and communism remain an antithesis to liberty. Socialism is the first step to Communism, and history proves this statement to be true, as it is also proven by Karl Marx and Joseph Engels in “The Communist Manifesto” and Vladimir Lenin when he stated, “The goal of socialism is communism.” Individual Liberty is the singular principle of the Constitution. Thus all allegiances to a system contrary to it are opposed to the very contract to which the governed have consented. As so many of the congressional, senatorial, and executive representatives now within the federal government have openly stated their socialist agendas, they have admitted their opposition to the very oath to the Constitution they have taken. This, and any other type of coup against the Constitution of the United States, will be met with undying resistance of any necessary kind and measure until the whole of the federal government submits itself to the constraints and the principles of its founding documents.
Therefore, we enumerate the following usurpations of the Constitution and its principles by the federal government of the United States of America:
- The fundamental safeguards to a free people enumerated in the first and second Amendments to the Constitution have been continuously and systematically infringed upon. Those in power now have denied the inherency of those rights, indicating an intention to destroy them.
- The principles of freedom and liberty are no longer the vanguard of the government. In contrast, the state dictates the minutia of the American subject’s life in exchange for the unobtainable illusions of safety and egalitarianism.
- The essential checks and balances designed by the framers of our Constitution have been manipulated to a state of inefficacy. The assumed powers of each branch of the government are now virtually unhindered by the others.
- Congress has usurped the essence of the 10th Amendment by using excessive taxation upon the citizens of each state to then coerce the same into federal ambitions, denying the wishes of the sovereign state.
- The federal government and a complicit media establishment have aimed at and succeeded in dividing the singular people of the country into political, racial, and economic factions through rhetoric and segregationist legislation.
- Congress has increased the national debt to irresponsible and unsustainable levels, selfishly bequeathing an insurmountable burden to upcoming generations.
- Without Constitutional power to do so, Congress has created a coercive and powerful national Department of Education, giving the federal government direct influence on the thoughts and principles of American children.
- Congress, the Supreme Court, and several complicit states have obfuscated the processes, ignored constitutional mandates, and refused to provide transparency to federal elections, jeopardizing the foundation of a representational government.
- The Executive Branch and Congress have placed the good of other nations as equal and superior to the good of the American people.
- Congress and the Judicial System have spent 48 years enabling and supporting the murder of innocent children in the womb.
- Congress has not held itself subject to the laws they pass by creating different laws and rules for itself than the people.
- All three branches of the Federal Government have turned agencies of the U.S. Government into political weapons to harm or destroy opposing candidates and ideals.
- The Executive Branch and the Department of Defense have consistently embroiled the nation into wars on foreign soil without reason of defense.
- Congress has redistributed the assets of those that produce to those that take in exchange for the votes to ensure the continuance and growth of the same practice.
- Congress has maintained the Federal Government as the primary landowner nationwide.
- Congress and the Board of the Federal Reserve have maintained the Federal Reserve as a largely unaccountable private entity.
- The Executive Branch and Congress have meddled in and coerced the will of foreign nations. Thus, we remind those so inclined to preserve this Republic that: “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever.” (John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1775) “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” (Thomas Paine, From the Writings of Thomas Paine, edited by Moncure D. Conway, 1795)
We, therefore, citizens of the United States of America, in appealing to the Almighty, again declare ourselves a free people. In solemn discernment and defense of that natural and fundamental right endowed upon us, we absolve all subjugation and deny any further consent to the dictates and usurpations of our government that derive apart from the constraints of our prior consent, enshrined and affirmed in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. We do so with a firm reliance on the protection of the same divine Providence upon which our founding fathers placed their lives. We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor, just as our founding fathers did to entrust to us this wholesome Republic. Now we reclaim it to reestablish it as the beacon of freedom and hope it was meant to be and shall remain.
*Lt Col (ret), US Army, Darin Gaub is a Co-founder of Restore Liberty, an international military strategist and foreign policy analyst, an executive leadership coach, and serves on the boards of multiple volunteer national and state level organizations. The views presented are those of the author and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, or its components.