“Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.”
Utah State Constitution Article I, Section 27
Khizr Khan boldly addressed the Democratic National Convention holding up his copy of the United States Constitution challenging the Republican candidate on his knowledge of the Constitution. It is one thing to have a “copy” of the Constitution, it is another thing to understand the Constitution. It is also one thing to declare for a Republic and another to understand just what is a Republic. It is one thing to declare for the Rule of Law, and still another to understand the difference this principle is from the Rule of Man.
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“No free government, or the blessings of liberty can be preserved to any people, but by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.” George Mason
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About every four years at this time there is strange animal that comes out of the closet. It has been described as a “conservative”. This animal is difficult to identify because it takes in form several different characteristics. Those who know, say that its “bark is worse than its bite”; in other words, it is best defined by what it does and not what it says. This animal waves the flag as it sings the praises of those who came before: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, etc., better known as the “Founding Fathers” who have established a “republic” on “common law” principles so that future generations could enjoy the freedom and liberty they struggled for. Thomas Paine, seeing the eventual conflict at his time wrote: “. . . [I]f there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”
Have been watching the Congressional Oversight Committee hearings on Hillary Clinton chaired by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz. It is amazing how these “well-trained” law school graduates answer questions. You see that as they open their mouth and verbalize in legalize, the question remains unanswered! They are presented with a simple yes or no question, but they can’t just give a simple yes or no answer. This talent must be taught in a special course in law school, of which they all excelled. We have a “new” legal defense now, it called the “Clinton” defense.
The common characteristic that is regurgitated is a belief and support of the Constitution for the United States, this is the “bark”. The “bite”, however, shows a different color than what is demonstrated by action. This contrast between the bark and the bite has been exemplified by the absence of the fundamentals of good government which have been forgotten by all of those who seemingly contend for our “posts of honor” are silently within, seeking “a place of profit”.
It is of little difference their political persuasion, the disease has infected all. Another symptom expressing itself from this animal is the color of its approach to the U.S. Constitution as they take an oath to support and defend the charter. Yet it is one thing to support and another to understand. It is akin to the saying now passed around, you don’t have a country without boarders. You don’t have a constitution, if you do not understand it.
We have retrogressed from having a solid understanding to a mere opinion of its importance, while those trusted in our post of honor go about business as usual with an increase in social programs and world dominance. We have trained a legal profession that also seek a prominent position while driving from the back seat.
The Fourth Branch of Government
Along with this, there now exists an additional “branch” created by our government outside of the Constitutional three branches of government. It is the “administrative” branch of government in which the three constitutional branches legislative, executive and judicial are combined into one. They are a threat to constitutional due process. “If laws may be established or made by men not elected for such purpose by the people, whatever that government may be called, it cannot be a republic.” (The Law of the Land, an essay by R. Carter Pittman)
This Administrative branch of government exists not only at the Federal level of government, but also within our States. It is recognized by their capital indicators such as; EPA, OSHA, etc. Governments have organized “commissions” to oversee and prosecute American citizens who do not adhere to their regulations. Utah Senator Mike Lee, has a new book out titled, Our Lost Constitution, and the first chapter begins with this observation; “I keep two towers of documents in my senate office. The first is only a few inches tall. A collection of all the legislation passed by Congress in 2013, it contains about eight hundred pages.
“The second tower, which is eleven feet tall, is a collection of regulations proposed and adopted by federal agencies in 2013. It contains about eighty thousand pages.”
I have had the opportunity to view this fourth branch of government first hand as I have dealt with the force of the Internal Revenue Service the administrative branch of the Treasury Department and also the Utah State Tax Commission, one of the many administrative branches of the executive branch of the State of Utah. It was a challenge to demonstrate to them the importance of jurisdiction and in doing so they both have backed down. I doubt, however, that I have convinced anyone to adjust their thinking.
A Jurisdiction Foreign To Our Constitution
This new administrative agency is a result of the resurgence of Admiralty Law coming upon the land, replacing the Common Law. The common law is the birthright of the People. It is the fundamental law of the Union, spoken of in Article VI of the Constitution addressed as the “law of the land.” Only those “Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; . . . , shall be the supreme Law of the Land; . . .” “The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be in agreement.” (Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 177)
This is a principle least understood by the People and governments.
The thirteen Colonies were subjected to the Civil law of Admiralty, which jurisdiction was one of the chief complaints addressed in the Declaration of Independence drafted by George Mason and Thomas Jefferson. “He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: . . .” In Justice Campbell’s dissenting opinion in Jackson v. The Magnolia he pointed out: “In their address setting forth the cause and necessity for their taking up of arms, they allege that statutes have been passed for extending the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty beyond their ancient limits.” (Jackson v. The Magnolia, 61 U.S. 296 at 331 )
In his extensive works on Admiralty, Erastus Cornelius Benedict (1800 – 1880) points out that; “It has indeed been said, that this extensive jurisdiction of the admiralty in the colonies was the subject of complaint at the time of the Revolution; and it is undoubtedly true, that the extension of the admiralty Jurisdiction beyond its ancient limits was, in some petitions and public documents, stated as one of the grievances of the colonies.” (Chpt. III, Sec. 72. Jurisdiction Complained Of.) Justice Baldwin also concurs writing in Bains v. The James and Catherine: “In the preamble to the declaration of the rights of the colonies in October, 1774, one of the grievances complained of was, that parliament had, by late acts, “extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county.”” (2 Fed. Cases, case No. 756 (1832)
Erastus also writes; “where the common law was the of the land, the civil law was held to be the law of the admiralty, . . . .” (Benedict on Admiralty, Vol. 1, section 15. The Civil Law) Whenever one takes to read the Constitution, consideration is must be given to the contents or the era in which the document is drafted. In the case of reading the Constitution, a understanding of the times sounding the drafting of the Constitution should be understood. (1776 . . .) Understanding this, again Justice Baldwin in writing for the court in Bains, supra, went through a discussion on admiralty and the civil law pointing to several unique features: “The jurisdiction of the admiralty was deemed a jewel of great lustre and value in the diadem or crown of the king, and was carried to great extent by the lord high admiral and his officers; . . .” concluding that; “It is therefore a self evident proposition, that the jurisprudence of the United States is not founded in the civil law, . . .”
Justice Johnson, writing a concurring option in Ramsay v. Allegree, 25 U.S. 611 (1827) noted that there were power operating to again bring the Admiralty back on the land. “I think it is high time to check this silent and stealing progress of the admiralty in acquiring jurisdiction to which it has no pretensions.”
Understanding Our Constitution
Basic fundamentals that play an important role in good government are but mere ornaments on the christmas tree. Put up for a season, then taken down and forgotten. Justice Hayes of the Vermont Supreme Court pointed out a current fact about State constitutions, especially fundamental principles: “It is the highest law of our state, yet sometimes esteemed the lowest. It is routinely cited, then routinely forgotten. It is our birthright, which we have sold for a bowl of federal porridge.” The legislature for the State of Utah has demonstrated their contempt for the fundamental principles, when asked to identify some of those principles, none responded.
One of the discarded fundamentals is the importance of the Common Law in understanding the meaning of the “silence” in the Constitution. When the English migrated to the colonies they brought with them the English Common Law. This was the law they were readily familiar with. The English Common law was developed from the Magna Carta, is a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. The Constitution of the United States was founded upon the Common Law.
Carrying this foreword Justice Iredell writing the opinion of the Court in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) pointed out “The only principles of law, then, that can be regarded, are those common to all the States. I know of none such, which can affect this case, but those that are derived from what is properly termed ‘the common law,’ a law which I presume is the ground-work of the laws in every State in the Union, . . .”
Circuit Judge A.H. Reid noted this in his law review article. “The symmetry and efficiency of our common law in producing justice has been a direct result of the fact that the common law is based upon the fundamental principles of right, from which fundamental principles the course of reasoning always begins, in preparing the way for the correct decision of the case in hand.”
Understanding the United States Constitution and the Common Law. Justice Matthews, Smith v. Alabama (1888): “The interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law, and are to be read in the light of its history.”
Justice Gray, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898): “In this as in other respects, it must be interpreted in the light of the common law, the principles and history of which were familiarly known to the framers of the Constitution.”
Justice Day, Kepner v. U.S. (1904): “In this, as in other respects, it [a constitutional provision] must be interpreted in the light of the common law, the principles and history of which were familiarly known to the framers of the Constitution. . . .The language of the Constitution, as has been well said, could not be understood without reference to the Common Law. 1 Kent. Comm. 336.”
Justice Bradley, Moore v. United States (1875): “. . .[W]e know of no system of law by which it should be governed other than the common law. That is the system from which our judicial ideas and legal definitions are derived. The language of the Constitution and of many acts of Congress could not be understood without reference to the common law.
John O. McGinnis is the George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern University: “The Constitution is a legal document and many terms are legal terms of art whose meaning was refined over preceding generations of the common law. To ignore the common law background of these terms is to discard valuable information that can give a more precise and definite meaning to language that may otherwise might seem vague or confusing.”
Professor James R. Stoner, Jr. (Ph.D., Harvard University, 1987) He has taught at LSU since 1988 and has chaired the Department of Political Science since 2007 is on the record: “But without understanding common law, you cannot understand either the original meaning of the Constitution or the way that meaning has been adapted to remain effective in our own time. Moreover, there is much about the common law that is alive today and plays no small part in supporting our lawful liberty. Finally, common law has been a means by which natural law or the law of reason has retained authority in American life.”
Joseph Story, (1833) General Review of the Colonies, Chapter XVI: §73. “There is, however, a difference between these two species of colonies in respect to the laws, by which they are governed, at least according to the jurisprudence of the common law. If an uninhabited country is discovered and planted by British subjects, the English laws are said to be immediately in force there; for the law is the birthright of every subject. So that wherever they go, they carry their laws with them; and the new found country is governed by them. . . .
§ 79. “And so has been the uniform doctrine in America ever since the settlement of the colonies. The universal principle (and the practice has conformed to it) has been, that the common law is our birthright and inheritance, and that our ancestors brought hither with them upon their emigration all of it, which was applicable to their situation. The whole structure of our present jurisprudence stands upon the original foundations of the common law.”
16 American Jurisprudence 2d, §113: “An important canon of construction is that constitutions must be construed with reference to common law, since, in most respects, the federal and state constitutions did not repudiate but cherished the established common law . . . It has been said that without reference to this common law the language of the federal constitution could not be understood.”
Justice John Catron concurring in Waring v. Clark, (1847): “I agree with my dissenting brethren, that the constitution of the United States is an instrument and plan of government founded in the common law, and that to common law terms and principles we must refer for a true understanding of it, . . .”
Utah can change its constitution, however, there are certain principles that cannot be altered, two being the “republican” form of government and the “common law.” The attempt by the Utah State legislature to abolish the Common Law (UCS 76-1-105) has no legal effect on the Common law and its legal effect on the judicial system of the State. As long as Article I, Declaration of Rights, of the Utah State Constitution, is in force the Common Law lives.
“I think it will be a great importance, when you come to the proper part, to portray at full length the consequences of this new doctrine, that the common law is the law of the U.S., & that their courts have, of course, jurisdiction co-extensive with that law. . . .” Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edmund Randolph, Aug. 18,1799, The Portable Thomas Jefferson.
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“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” James Madison
The Rule of Law
I’m not sure how many times I’ve sat down to compile a picture of the fundamentals of government. Knowing and understanding some of the basic fundamentals of government are essential to good government. Of the Founding Fathers, George Mason was influential in penning the Bill of Rights and a strong believer in strong local governments and a weak central government and a supporter of fundamentals; These fundamentals constitute the Rule of Law.
Alexander Hamilton, although felt by some to be the “founder” of the “left-wing,” still recognized the principle of fundamental rights and their importance to freedom and liberty. In his letter, The Farmer Refuted, quoting from Blackstone: “This is what is called the law of nature, ‘which, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them are valid, derive all their authority, mediately, or immediately, for this original.’ Blackstone.
“Upon this law, depend the natural rights of mankind, the supreme being gave existence to man, together with the means of preserving and beatifying that existence. He endowed him with rational faculties, by the help of which, to discern and pursue such things, as were consistent with his duty and interest, and invested him with an inviolable right to personal liberty, and personal safety.
“Hence also, the origin of all civil government, justly established, must be a voluntary compact, between the rulers and the ruled; and must be liable to such limitations, as are necessary for the security of the absolute rights of the latter; for what original title can man or set of men have, to govern others, except their own consent? To usurp dominion over a people, in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive power than they are willing to entrust, is to violate that law of nature, which gives ever man a right to his personal liberty; and can, therefore , confer no obligation to obedience.
“‘ The principal aim of society is to protect individuals, in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature; but which could not be presence, in peace, without that mutual assistance, and intercourse, which is gained by the institution of friendly and social communities. Hence it follows, that the first and primary end of human laws, is to maintain and regulate these absolute right of individuals.’ Blackstone.”
The Utah State Constitution sets forth a “Declaration of Rights” in Article I and concludes at Section 27 with this founding principle. “Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.” During the Convention’s drafting of the Utah Constitution, “W.G. Van Horne moved to strike Section 27, but did not give his reasons for this motion.
“The chairman of the Standing Committee on the Preamble and Declaration of Rights, Heber Wells, supported also by Orson Whitney, responded by saying: ‘[T]he committee deem this to be a patriotic utterance, that frequent recurrence should be made to fundamental principles, because the tendency of the times might be as it has been in the past, not to recur very often to fundamental principles. When the people are oppressed and do not get their rights, it may be necessary to recur to fundamental principles. . . . ‘
“It is there because historically, people have not often recurred to fundamental principles and this has somehow cost them their freedoms. The implication is that there are forces or influences that will, if left unchecked, take away people’s rights and misuse free government. Consequently, unless citizens vigilantly work to preserve the integrity of their free government, they may be subject to oppression. Presumably, the framers of Utah’s Constitution hoped that by reminding people to frequently recur to fundamental principles, people will take whatever actions are necessary to preserve their rights and to uphold free government.” (Paul Wake, Do Utahns Remember How to Be Free?)
What is interesting about the research that Paul Wake did in preparing his report was a phone survey taken by Nicki Wake in 1995/1996 “of Utahns around the state suggests that most Utahns (58% of survey participants) do not frequently think about fundamental principles and cannot think of any when asked. A number (45%) of those who said that they do think about fundamental principles could not think of a fundamental principle when asked to describe one. Among those who said that they knew what fundamental principles are, there was no unanimity of opinion—answers ranged from freedom of speech to the right to bear arms to representative government to tax limitation to abortion rights. An informal survey of members of the University of Utah College of Law community yielded similar results.” (Fn.223 of the Report)
In 2014/2015 I surveyed fourteen members of the Utah State legislature for their knowledge of the fundamentals for government. Not one of the fourteen contacted responded leaving me with the feeling that the Utah State legislature didn’t know and didn’t care.
Inherent and Inalienable Rights
Section 1 deals with the “Inherent and inalienable rights” and mentions a few. The mention of a few is never to be construed to mean that this is all. Just like the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution is not a limitation of individual rights as the Founding Fathers so indicated in the tenth amendment, so the Declaration of Rights in the Utah State Constitution does not aver to be a complete enumeration of our individual rights. Our natural rights are what ever the individual as sovereign declares them to be. Natural rights as exist in the person are not created by government but exist as a matter of creation by the creator, and in this Republic, by God. The superiority of government is limited by this fundamental for “[t]he creature cannot rule the creator.” (Kansas v. Colorado, 206 U.S. 46 )
Justice Field, concurring in the Butcher’s Union decision (111 U.S. 746 ), identified the source of these rights: “As in our intercourse with our fellow-men certain principles of morality are assumed to exist, without which society would be impossible, so certain inherent rights lie at the foundation of all action, and upon a recognition of them alone can free institutions be maintained. These inherent rights have never been more happily expressed than in the declaration of independence, that new evangel of liberty to the people: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’-that is, so plain that their truth is recognized upon their mere statement-‘that all men are [111 U.S. 746, 757] endowed’-not by edicts of emperors, or decrees of parliament, or acts of congress, but ‘by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.’-that is, rights which cannot be bartered away, or given away, or taken away, except in punishment of crime-‘and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and to secure these’-not grant them, but secure them- ‘governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'”
The natural rights of the People are undefined, and limited only by the Common Law principle that the People are free as long as their activities do not harm or interfere with the natural rights of their neighbor.
Who is the Sovereign?
“Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts.” (Yick Wo vs Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356)
Utah State Constitution Section 2 of Article I addresses the sovereignty of the People; “All political power inherent in the people.” In addressing this principle, it is important to understand our political system. It seems that the country is content to refer to our government as a “democracy.” This is an error in our education and is readily evident in the pledge of allegiance . . . “and to the republic . . .” There are those who teach that there is no difference. Again, they are wrong . . . The fundamental principle in a democracy is found in the sovereignty of the people as a whole. While in a republic, sovereignty is found in the individual.
In his essay on The American Form of Government, Howard B. Rand noted this: “Democracy is a form of government that is definitely in rebellion to righteousness, for a pure democracy establishes the desires and wishes of the people as he final court of appeals. Public opinion, or the desire of the majority in a democracy becomes the guiding spirit of the nation, and its desire transcends the law of the land.” It follows the “Rule of Man.”
In a democracy, the majority rules and the minority must follow. Democracy is a dictatorship of the majority and the people are “subjects” to their will. Today we find this dictatorship of the majority in our legislatures as they seem to follow the polls in forming policy.
Under the system of government established by the Constitution, the government has no inherent sovereign powers. This was expressed by former Justice Wilson of the Supreme Court when he stated; “… For, in an instrument well drawn, as in a poem well composed, silence is sometimes most expressive. To the Constitution of the United States the term sovereignty, is totally unknown.” (Oswald v. the State of New York,” 2 Dallas 415)
Chief Justice Jay, in the same opinion; “… It is remarkable that in establishing it, the people exercised their own rights, and their own proper sovereignty, and conscious of the plenitude of it, they declared with becoming dignity, ‘We the people of the United States, do ordain and establish this Constitution.’”
Our Next Line of Defense – State’s Rights
The Branches Have Overcome The Roots
(Jacob 5 – The Tame and Wild Olive Tree)
We have been blessed with some valuable fundamentals for the success of this land, this Nation. They are contained in the founding documents handed down from those select men who drafted the Declaration of Independence and structured the form of government for this Union within the Constitution, uniting the States together. Unfortunately, there were forces that from the foundation, sought to alter this structure.
At the outset, the suppression from dictators and kings that drove people here to the ‘new world’, left a mark upon the people and guided them in laying out the formula and avoiding the evils which drove them here. By the late 1700’s this was still fresh in the minds of Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and others about the lessons in the governments of Europe. As the years progressed the reasons for the influx of immigrants to the United States changed as Europe witnessed the success of this new experiment and the progress and wealth which brought a different type of immigrant to America.
Just as time heals all wounds, the reasons for separation became dim in the minds of succeeding generations and the cycle of civilizations, experienced in other governments of Europe over the centuries started to turn. The early settlers came from the bondage of European governments with a spiritual awakening, enjoying the freedom and the success this new Nation provided.
Having forgotten the reasons for the founding of this Nation, the prosperity that the people enjoyed gave birth to the evils of greed and power. The people began to change the fundamentals with a spin that began to color the Constitution. There arose a breed of men who enjoyed the feeling and recognition that power and position provided. The goal to “form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. . .”, were expanded to crowd out the doctrine of “natural rights” inherent in the creation of the individual. The feudal concepts of government and property began to take hold as this “new breed” began to educate the citizens and create crisis after crisis.
As I contemplate this attack on the natural right of the individual, I am reminded of two passages from Mormon scriptures. From Alma; “And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and judges.” (10:27)
Addressing this “unrighteousness”, I quote in part from the writings of Joseph Smith (D&C 121); “. . . when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, or vain ambitions, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, . . ., Amen to the . . . authority of that man.  . . . We have learned by sad experience that it is nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” 
With each new crisis the “new emperors” convinced the people of programs that would prevent these manufactured crisis from happening again. They were labeled with patriot names, such as the “new deal”, the “great society” and more up to date, the “patriot act” and “homeland security”. The warning of Alexander Hamilton has been forgotten; “Nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions by letting into the government principles and precedents which afterwards prove fatal to themselves.” We have give up our freedoms for a “mess of potage”. We have been educated into believing that government is the answer. Under the guise of “helping” the people, this new breed are achieving their goal of creating a citizenry dependent upon government and a free lunch. We have forgotten our roots!
I know that many of you who will read this are not of the “Mormon” faith, but you are aware of the Book of Mormon. I would invite you to obtain a copy and read the allegory of the tame and the wild olive trees found in the sections written by Jacob. “But behold, the wild branches have grown and have overrun the roots thereof: and because that the wild branches have overcome the roots thereof it hath brought forth much evil fruit; and because that it hath brought forth so much evil fruit thou beholds that it beginneth to perish; and it will soon become ripened, that it may be cast into the fire, except we should do something for it to preserve it.” (5:37)
It’s crucial at this time for those interested in preserving the Constitution and the principles that made this country great, to stand up and contend against the evils being taught and supported by the proponents of a “great society” and “government is the answer”.
Benjamin Franklin made an interesting observation when addressing the Constitutional Convention; “Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. They are . . . the love of power and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent affects. Place before the eyes of such men, a post of honor that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. . . .
And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate; the fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers. And these too will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation, for their vanquished competitors of the same spirit, and endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.
Besides these evils, sir, tho’ we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be long continuance. Reason will never be wanting for proposed augmentations. And there will always be a party for giving more to them. Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every state and kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing and the governed; the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the prince, or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of the prince constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater the need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure.
. . . But this catastrophe, I think, may be long delayed, if in our proposed system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction, and tumult, by making our posts of honor, places of profit.” (James Beck, The Constitution of the United States)
The observation made by Benjamin Franklin demonstrated itself during the election of 2013. The one party pushing for reelection of their candidate; “It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits.” The candidate from the other side of the political isle, for the first time in ages, presented himself to be the more “. . . wise and moderate; . . . the fittest for the trust.”
I have found the inspired thoughts from Moses Thatcher as he delivered remarks on “Civil Government” during one of the temple lectures (1879 – 1896). “No government ought ever to be established for the good of the few to the hurt of the many. It should be established with the view of benefiting the ruled, rather than with the view of advancing the power of rulers, who, as all purely human governments, have, in every age, manifested a disposition to centralize, become aggressive, and often to oppress. Because of this tendency it has been asserted that man surrenders his individual rights in order to form the basis for civil government. This is not true. It is an assertion, founded in selfishness. In society, and under the safeguards of a generous and wisely-formed government, man should freely exercise and enjoy every natural and individual right that could possibly be exercised and enjoyed by him in any natural state. The object of government should be to extend, not curtail men’s rights.”
Helping us understand the concept of sovereignty Moses, quoting in part from Andrews Manuel on the Constitution, points out; “Civil authority is of divine origin, and it is lodged in the people. It is held in the nation as a whole, and not by them as individuals. Society is not a congress of sovereigns. The power of society does not come from the individual members, but it belongs to the nation, as such. The nation receives it from God, as a parent receives from God his right to govern His child. It may be thought that the theory of lodging the civil authority in the people as a whole, would lead to social despotism. As, in the other case, the rights claimed for the individual would make government an impossibility; so, here, the right claimed for the people, as a whole, would destroy all the rights of the individual citizen. But although the sovereignty is in the people collectively, they have no right to exercise any authority which God has not bestowed upon them. The parent has no right to govern his child, except for the child’s good; neither has the nation any right to do anything which is not for the good of the people. Each member of the community has inalienable rights with which society has no right to interfere.” Some rights come from the State, as such; many do not, but belong to man as man. “Humanly speaking the sovereignty of the nation is in the people collectively, but this sovereignty is not absolute; it must be exercised in subordination to a higher power which recognizes the dignity, and worth of the human being.”
Moses Thatcher’s lecture is very appropriate for our time and pointed to the problem. It should be read in full.
And what can we do to preserve this Nation? Right now the “roots” of this Nation are still good. There are enough honest citizens who are trying their best to cultivate these roots and give them strength as they follow the admonition of Alexander Hamilton; “The best way of determining disputes and of investigating truth is by ascending to elementary principles.” This observation by Hamilton is echoed in several of the State Constitutions. “Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.” (Constitution for the State of Utah, Article I, Section 27)
For my part, I will continue to stress the importance of understand the fundamentals of the sovereignty of the people, delegation of authority, preeminence of the Common Law, understanding the principle of eminent domain and property rights, understanding the structure of a “republic”, and above all the sacred nature of our natural rights.
It is well documented, but over-looked, that the people are at the top of the “pecking order” when it comes to discovering the “sovereign”. All authority originates with them and under the principle of “delegation”, they and they alone delegate that authority which they have in common. This concept trickles down and is the foundation for eminent domain and individual property rights. The sacred nature of our God-given natural rights, under this principle, are, well documented as previously stated by Justice Field.
As far as protecting these inalienable rights, Justice Jackson lined out that; “One’s rights to life, liberty, and property … and other fundamental rights may not be admitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no election. A citizen’s constitutional rights can hardly be infringed simply because a majority of the people choose that it be.” [W. Virginia v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 639] This emphasizes the importance in understanding the true nature of delegation of authority.
In the absence of these, and other fundamental principles, we are faced today with a falling apart of our tripartite division of governmental power into a single controlling party “by the rise of a dictator or despot whose principle qualification for ruling was the he could bring order.” [Page Smith]
Comic strip from Johnny Hart, B.C., a conversation between Jake and Maude climbing the Statute of Liberty:
Jake: Wow! I don’t believe this . . . it’s an official invitation to a life of liberty and freedom!
Maude: Listen to this, Jake: your new government will show you:
What you can earn,
What you can learn,
What you can reap,
What you can keep,
Who you can fire,
What color to hire,
Which fields you can sow to
Which schools you can go to-
And even to whom you can pray!
Jake:What in the world are you reading?
Maude: The fine print.
Jake: What fine print?
Maude: It’s on the warning label.
“It is hard to stay awake when one’s stomach is full.”