One of our resolutions pertains to "Support for the U.S. Constitution".
The process is in the midst of gathering feedback and input on our resolutions in preparation for the final Committee report at the Convention.
We received input from a very prominent "mover and shaker" here in Moore County which I would like to share with you along with my responses. I will not divulge the identity of my "antagonist". But, I believe the exchange of ideas might provoke serious considerations and critical thinking of others in Moore County -- both Republicans and Independents.
If any readers would care to share their thoughts and reactions to this short debate, I would be most interested.
"Everything looks good. However, please consider substituting the word 'unreasonable' for 'all' with regard to Constitution and regulations and law. For instance, free speech is always limited by libel, assembly is limited when it creates a violent riot. And we all agree that private persons should not have shoulder fired missiles. The true legal standard is 'compelling state interest' which is a higher test than 'unreasonable' but the former sounds too statist. Perhaps another phrase might be 'overreaching and unnecessary regulation and laws'."
"I understand your point, and I am somewhat – somewhat – sympathetic to it. I have heard the arguments you make about 'limitations' on rights before. But in making these arguments, we have allowed the Left to control the language and presentation of the issue. I would much rather argue that our right of free speech, which the Constitution says is not to be infringed (that means the right is not to be lessened, limited, or undermined in any way). But my rights must not 'break your leg or pick your pocket'. If, in exercising my rights, I do harm to another, then I am accountable for that harm. So my rights are not 'limited' – they are constrained by my self-responsibility and by accountability for the consequences of my actions.
As a legal professional, I am certain you will recognize the above is not simply a rhetorical difference, it is a fundamental one. The moment we begin allowing the government to pass laws infringing on our sacred Bill of Rights, that moment we begin to surrender and erode Liberty itself. And that is just what we have done for decades now! And under the progressive invention of 'case law' and 'legal precedent', once you infringe here, well then, you can infringe there, too – all 'reasonable' and 'fair', of course. All 'good common sense' infringements for the 'greater good'.
So, we all agreed that libel was bad and so we passed a law against libel. And then against other types of speech.... And we still argue about just what constitutes libel and slander.... Has it ever really been settled? And so the progressive infringements began....
Now, your example of freedom of assembly is a bit different. Assembly is not yet unlawful – although the government often tries to discourage and limit it using excuses of permitting, sanitation requirements, security requirements, liability insurance, etc. – even to the point where they make it nearly impossible to have an assembly. You know I’m not wrong or prevaricating here.... Just look what good ole Guv Bev used to do whenever the Tea Party wanted to have an assembly in Raleigh. It was ridiculous. Just look what the good federales always do when FreedomWorks or Glenn Beck wants to have an assembly in Washington D.C. You can have an assembly; it’ll just bankrupt you now....
But we haven’t banned assembly yet. Have we infringed on the right? I think so! But we didn’t amend the Bill of Rights. No, we have a more sneaky way of getting around that pesky 'shall not be infringed' language, don’t we? I, for one, think it’s time to stop allowing this. If a riot is bad and you make laws against violent rioting, hold me accountable if I break those laws. Don’t infringe on my right of assembly under the presumption that my assembly could conceivably somehow might trigger a riot....
And I humbly, but strongly, disagree with you that private persons 'should not have shoulder fired missiles'. That way of thinking once again buys right into the agenda of the Left, and it is just plain wrong. When the Constitution was drafted and ratified, everyone understood that the muskets in private hands were the most modern 'military assault weapons' to be had. Citizens, farmers, private merchant ships could and did have cannons – the biggest, baddest, most advanced military weaponry of the time – equivalent in every way to those held by the standing army and navy. They could have these in any quantities that the private party could afford and wished to bear.
Indeed, Presidents Washington and Jefferson used private militia and hired seafaring privateers to fight against enemies on behalf of the federal government. They were every bit as well armed as the corresponding standing army and navy units. There was no intent on the part of the Framers to limit the right to bear arms – that’s why the Second Amendment says 'shall not be infringed'. Things stayed this way until the 20th century progressive movement, which managed to convince enough people that we stupid people just can’t be trusted with certain things and certain rights. So, in the name of 'good', 'reasonable', 'common sense', 'public safety' our Second Amendment rights really do need a bit of infringing.... And so, they did. And we have allowed it. Now after one progressive 'common sense' step after another after another... look where we find ourselves!
So, no, I do not agree – I never will agree – that I do not have the right to any arms I can afford and wish to bear. The Second Amendment is not about hunting. It is not about protecting myself from a burglar, although that is a really good side benefit. No. The Second Amendment is about resisting and protecting against the rise of a tyrannical government. That is its purpose. And to do that, the People should be as well armed as the mercenaries which will be sent against the People by the Tyrant.
I decry that we have allowed the government to infringe ALL of our rights in spite of the Bill of Rights. And if those infringements were really what the People actually wanted, then the Constitution and Bill of Rights should have been properly amended through the process established for that very purpose. We have erred in allowing the legislators, the regulators, and the corrupted courts to infringe and invent false new authorities through 're-interpretation'. I am sick of it!
And 'compelling state interest' is, indeed, a statist concept and an excuse used by big government rogues to shred the Constitution. As for the word 'unreasonable', I must ask: "Who is to decide what is ‘unreasonable’?" Are we going to leave that up to the same 'evolution' of case precedence in the courts? Are we going to let the same corrupted Congress or Administration define and redefine that word for us to suit their own desires? Who will be the arbiter of 'reasonableness' and 'unreasonableness'?
What bothers me about your suggestion is that it accepts the notion that our government CAN at its own discretion infringe my God-given rights in the name of someone’s idea of 'reasonableness'. That gives them a 'blank check'."
Most of 20th Century Constitutional law was concerned with expansion of civil liberties in light of making the Bill of Rights applicable to the States... This included deciding that one could publish an ad critical of an Alabama Sheriff. Often the Court got it wrong such as when it found new rights like a "right to privacy".
But, by overturning state laws like the Illinois law which prevented a Nazi march,the Court mostly spent the 20th Century expanding free speech and overruling state laws which limited peaceable assembly. All this was based upon ignoring the limitation the founders placed upon the first amendment and using the 14th Amendment to make that rifling. It can be argued that the last founding father was John A Bingham, the author of the 14th Amendment whose goal it was to bind the Bill of Rights to the States.
It took about 100 years of Supreme Court decisions to accomplish this.
Something to think about.
"I’m glad that we agree on much. However, alas! I differ again in my views on the 20th century 'expansion of civil liberties'. Certainly that statement is true with regard to civil rights of blacks and the persecution they faced (primarily from the Democrat Party) following the War Between the States. The Fourteenth Amendment was put into place to overcome those gross injustices.
Interesting to note, however, that the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified through the Constitutional amendment and ratification process – not through legal caveat in the courts or legislative/administrative end runs around the Constitution.
Where I disagree with your view of history is that, yes, the courts – up to and including the Supreme Court – proceeded to weaken and erode federalism. The states were meant to have powers not granted to the federal government. The federal government was never meant to steal those powers and authorities from the states. If I didn’t like the laws and governance of my current state, I could move to another. But the courts and other branches of the federal government have conspired to destroy federalism and build an all-powerful central state government. They bribed short-sighted state and local governments through grants and favors to accept rules and strings which gradually transferred power to the central government. All this transfer of power and authority – in the guise and pretense of making us 'freer' and 'safer' and 'more efficient', accomplished quite the opposite.
I do not agree that the courts had our best interests as their true motive. That hundred years of which you speak was the hundred years of progressivism, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt and his Bullmoose Party, ripening with WW and FDR, and culminating in the sorry likes of Jimmy Carter and Barry Soetoro. This court-ordered erosion of the Constitution and federalism only abetted the progressives in the other federal branches in their quest for total power. It was and is an abomination which has brought our nation to the brink of totalitarianism, at which we find ourselves today.
Yes, I agree, the courts and federal government 'ignored the (Constitutional) limitation the founders placed' – indeed learned to disregard all the Constitutional limitations with the help of the corrupt courts – interpreting the 'Commerce Clause' and now, with Justice Roberts’ twisted and perverted reinterpretations, particularly of the Sixteenth Amendment, the 'taxing authority' – to do virtually ANYTHING they want.
I owe the courts no gratitude. The 'progress' of which you speak was toward tyranny."