The Declaration of Natural Laws.

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“This then is the general fignification of law, a rule of action dictated by fome fuperior being…” –Sir William Blackstone.

Section 1. Tiers of Law.

Constitutional law is higher than statutory law; God’s law is superior to that of man. Humanity, on both an individual and collective scale, is subject to certain truths: unerring, unchanging principles. Thus we see that there are different tiers of law. It is good, natural, and just to break a law if you are doing it to follow a higher law. This was essentially the idea the founders labored under when we broke away from Great Britain; as Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence, “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Jefferson with the Congress of Confederation who passed this as law, then go on to describe what makes these, “Laws of Nature and of Natures God”, above the authority of British law. This Declaration is an argument that the authority for America to separate from Great Britain came from not from any British laws, but because America was following a higher law, no matter what laws the king or parliament may have passed or executed.

So I bet you have a question on your tongue: what are natural laws? Natural law is the concept that there are certain eternal, absolute, unchangeable truths that govern the universe. Examples of the natural law include the the laws of physics, laws of human relations, the law of the harvest, principles of wealth (financial or otherwise), and morality. In order to be free, individuals, families, and governments must follow the dictates of the natural law. Natural laws are the key to getting results in every aspect of life. Consider a man who throws a stone in the air, he may want it to continue on at the same pace unaffected by gravity, he may even shout at it to, “fly like the wind!”, but in vain. Natural law dictates that the rock is going to come down; possibly even on the head of this small-minded man!

Section 2. The Supremacy of the Natural Law.

The belief in a natural law and its transcendent superiority to the laws created by men was almost universal in the classical liberal movement of which the American founding fathers were a part. To help further prove this, let me quote a few classical liberals talking about this subject. As President John Adams wrote, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” As St. Augustine said and St. Thomas Aquinas taught, “An unjust law is no law at all.” As St. Thomas More’s character states in Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons, “Some men think the earth is round, others think it flat; . . . . But if it is flat, will the King’s command make it round? And if it is round, will the King’s command flatten it? No.” As the French economist Frédéric Bastiat said: “Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” And as Sir William Blackstone said, “This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himfelf, is of courfe fuperior 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 fuch of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.”

This last statement of Blackstone includes mention of a connected principle called the Divine, or Revealed law. As Blackstone explains in the second section of the introduction in his masterful work on British law entitled, Commentaries on the Laws of England, “The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy fcriptures.” You see, the natural laws are the doctrines themselves, but the most assured foundation of learning them, is through the divine delivery of truth we call the scriptures. Divine laws are a way of learning the natural law. But why do we need the scriptures to learn the natural law? Blackstone further explains: “in order to apply this to the particular exigencies of each individual, it is ftill neceffary to have recourfe to reafon; whofe office it is to difcover, as was before obferved, what the law of nature directs in every circumftance of life; by confidering, what method will tend the moft effectually to our own fubftantial happinefs. And if our reafon were always, as in our firft anceftor before his tranfgreffion, clear and perfect, unruffled by paffions, unclouded by prejudice, unimpaired by difeafe or intemperance, the tafk would be pleafant and eafy; we fhould need no other guide but this. But every man now finds the contrary in his own experience; that his reafon is corrupt, and his underftanding full of ignorance and error.

“This has given manifold occafion for the benign interpofition of divine providence; which, in compaffion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindnefs of human reafon, hath been pleafed, at fundry times and in divers manners, to difcover and enforce it’s laws by an immediate and direct revelation. …we are not from thence to conclude that the knowlege of thefe truths was attainable by reafon, in it’s prefent corrupted ftate; fince we find that, until they were revealed, they were hid from the wifdom of ages. As then the moral precepts of this law are indeed of the fame original with thofe of the law of nature, fo their intrinfic obligation is of equal ftrength and perpetuity. Yet undoubtedly the revealed law is (humanly fpeaking) of infinitely more authority than what we generally call the natural law. Becaufe one is the law of nature, expreffly declared fo to be by God himfelf; the other is only what, by the affiftance of human reafon, we imagine to be that law. If we could be as certain of the latter as we are of the former, both would have an equal authority; but, till then, they can never be put in any competition together.”

The natural laws are truly set forth by God, as Samuel Rutherford says in Lex, Rex, “That power of government in general must be from God, I make good, 1st, Because (Rom. xiii. 1) “there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.” 2nd, God commandeth obedience, and so subjection of powers… Now God only by a divine law can lay a band of subjection on the conscience, tying men to guilt and punishment if they transgress.” And he also said, “What is warranted by the direction of nature’s light is warranted by the law of nature, and consequently by a divine law; for who can deny the law of nature to be a divine law?”

Jonathan Edwards, a man who in the founding generation was called, “the greatest American mind”, who was one of the main leaders of the Great Awakening gave a sermon entitled, “A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the soul by the Spirit of God.” In this sermon, Edwards said, “God is the author of all knowledge and understanding whatsoever. He is the author of the knowledge that is obtained by human learning: he is the author of all moral prudence, and of the knowledge and skill that men have in their secular business. Thus it is said of all in Israel that were wise-hearted, and skilled in embroidering, that God had filled them with the spirit of wisdom, Exodus 28:3.”

Benjamin Franklin in the constitutional convention gave a written speech on the floor on this subject. Notice how he quotes and refers to the Bible several times. I’ll now quote the speech in its entirety from James Madison’s original records of the event:

“Mr. President
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance and continual reasonings with each other-our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

“In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

“I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.”

Section 3. What of Church and State?

Now perhaps you have curiously raised the question: “Wait, what about separation of church and state?” May I call to your attention to the fact that the words, “separation of church and state”, or anything like it does not appear, nor is it implied in The Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution? The Declaration of Independence, as you have probably pieced together, actually has at its center, a largely religious explanation for its authority: “the Laws of Nature and of Natures God”. As for the Constitution, the only two religious restrictions of any sort are that, 1. there may be no religious requirement for election to an office, and 2. in the first amendment it says that the Federal Congress may not make a law respecting a specific religious denomination. However, that’s all it says; and the first amendment is only there to act as an additional safeguard of the limited powers in Article 1, Section 8 anyway. Also note that the phrase itself talks about separating a church from the state, not separating spirituality from the state: there is a big difference between a church and the religion it teaches.

Now where does this phrase come from in the first place? Does it come from any authoritative source? Well it’s merely a paraphrase of a part of a sentence from a tiny portion of a small letter written by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. The letter says in essence that a wall should be erected keep government from bullying the churches. You may want to read the letter in its entirety for yourself. but lets suppose for a moment that this letter did say that religion should be kept away from government, then even so the letter is merely Jefferson’s musing. It was his only, it was not any kind of law, it is not authoritative in any way other than being written by Jefferson, it does not explain why religion should be kept out of government, and all of his other writings both past and future contradict the idea. But what if we were to assume that this letter was both anti-religion and authoritative? Well then, which should be better trusted as a guide; this letter, or The Declaration of Independence which was not only written by Jefferson, but was an official law passed by the Confederation?

Section 4. Legal and Moral Authority.

So, we know what natural law is, but how do we know if it’s a legally authoritative and pragmatically proper basis for government to act? Perhaps it would be prudent to consider an alternative to this proposition? Let us suppose that if the legitimacy of man’s laws does not come from natural law, then from whence is does its authority come? The popular response to that question is democratic government, or in other words, the will of the people: for a government of man can only derive its authority from men. But if this is the case, does a democracy have the authority to take the life of a man they know is innocent of any wrong doing? Of course not, for the rights of an individual are not less than the rights of a collective: for a collectives rights are derived from that of individuals: for individuals are the building out of which the collective is formed. And if the rights of the collective, which is the principle out of which democracies are formed, comes out of the rights of individuals, then even democracies derive their right to exist or act out of the rights of individuals, which rights are a natural law springing out of morality. Therefore the authority of government to exist or act comes from these laws of nature. Democratic government is practical, adding legitimacy to both the reputation and acts of government, but natural laws take precedence over democratic principles which are natural laws themselves. The people are an essential source of just governance; they just aren’t the only, nor are they the greatest source.

Section 5. States’ Rights are Derived From the Natural Law.

Great American statesmen and legal scholars including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, Patrick Henry, even St. George Tucker all agreed that the states had not only the right, but were duty bound to resist unconstitutional laws. This was because the states created the federal government: it was from the states that the union derived its legal authority. Therefore, despite the fact that state interposition and nullification to such laws, or state succession in this manner were not expressed in the Constitution, nevertheless the states had these rights, for they were given by the natural law.

Section 6. Natural Rights.

            Now in government, the natural law is mainly there to protect our natural rights. Our natural rights come from our humanity, which makes us responsible for our own choices, our own bodies, our own thoughts and emotions, because we are all human beings. Now this does not mean we have license to licentiousness, but it does mean we are responsible: we have right called the freedom to choose, and we also have the obligation to accept the consequences of our actions.

But most importantly of all, through that supreme revealed law, we know that our rights through our humanity come from God. They come from God because as we are His children created in His image and likeness. So even as He is free, so too are we free through our divine nature and birthright. As John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Section 7. How Can We Discover the Natural Law?

So this leaves us with one final question. How do we discover the natural law? I can suggest three ways, 1. we have a conscience which speaks truth if only we will listen to it, 2. natural laws are self-evident truths, and 3. by learning the divine or revealed law. Now everyone knows what a conscience is, and I explained about the revealed law, but what of self-evident truths? What are self-evident truths? They are those truths that we can know by knowing ourselves. For example, you have inside knowledge about what flavors of ice-cream you like best. We need no scientific experiments, nor do we need any special reasoning for you to determine what kind of ice-cream you like. If you will, you are so to speak, in the know about yourself. You know your own nature, and can thereby learn the nature of others, or at least their praxeology. You can also adapt this knowledge to culture as well. Hereby you have practical insight into governance both proper and improper.

So, do you want to go re-read the Declaration of Independence with what you’ve just learned? Now go look up some of the sources I used that interest you, and start learning those principles!

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“The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.” –John Adams.

“We must face the grim necessity, with full knowledge that the task is to be solved, and we must proceed with a full realization that no statute enacted by man can repeal the inexorable laws of nature.” –Warren G. Harding.

Debate Between a Communist and a Capitalist, Part 4.

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Pedro el Communist: Ok, well, WOW, thats a ton of information. Like I said earlier, all I really know, is what i have learned in my HISTORY class. It is not economics. We do not have the time to cover every single detail. But what you have told me about economics is good. However, maybe its just coming across this way from no personal contact, but it sounds like you are personally attacking me and my beliefs, which I find incorrect. However, I do not find my “liberal” ideas to be of Satan. How is it Satanic that a group, government in this example, is redistributing wealth (not all of it) to have people have a choice economically. If you are all about choice, then why are you so against people have a choice economically. People who are in poverty, a majority of them at least, are stuck in poverty with no way to get out. Ignore the choices that may have led them to be in poverty, that it another matter completely, but is it fair at all that someone is poverty has little to no chance to get out of poverty? That is where I beleive groups, government in this case, have a right to step in where rich people refuse to help people in the depths of poverty.

And how do you know (from what I understand at least, you have never really been taught in a public school) that all public school historians are the worst? What proof or any say do you have to say that? That is very judgemental (at least in my mind it is at least). And I still dont understand how, if it is true that all is needed for men to have natural consequences is to have very little regulations/rules from government, why the Gilded Age of 1870-1900 wasnt the perfect time for America?

Blackstone: How do you know that public school is a good place to learn? And how do you know I don’t know? That sounds very judgmental to me. ;) Anyway, I know because I’ve heard many government schoolers talk about history and what they’ve “learned.” I’ve also read and skimmed through many of your textbooks, so. But how do you know if it’s a good place, seeing as you have little point of reference? Alas, the more you learn history, the less you trust historians; and public schools are the place with the worst historians (if you can even call them that).

I did not say by the way that liberal policies are satanic. I asked if you believe that the results of coercion are better than those of free agency, and that if you believed that, if therefore Satan’s plan of force was better than Christ’s plan of freedom. Now that’s a pretty big difference.

As for government “helping people” in the way you describe, very little of what the government does is even intended to be along those lines. And can you see the difference between a group (government) being “charitable” with someone else’s money, or a group voluntarily serving the poor? Did Christ ask individuals to serve the poor, or did he ask an entity to plunder them under the pretense of serving the poor? I’m afraid I’ll have to refer you to the French classical economist Fredrick Bastiat’s book, “The Law” for some complete arguments on the morality of government welfare. It’s a very short read, a couple of hours at the most, but it’s the best thing I know to quickly address the topic in a way you could easily understand.

We need to go to the most basic foundations of action if we’re really going to see choice in the context of government. Remember that choice must always be considered in the light of consequence. You see Peter, when people make choices, they get consequences. Now if a particular choice should always result in a certain consequence, then it’s called a natural consequence. Natural consequences are essential to understand if we’re to make a leap from human action to government. Now if acting man has freedom over his decisions, then he has complete control over his consequences, and therefore his circumstances. It is thus governments role to help the poor (not to mention everyone else) by making sure that all men have control of the three things Jefferson said were the sole role of government: to protect the Life, Liberty, and Property of the individual. Now isn’t that fair? Now all the government needs to do to protect those things in a market, is to provide a police force with an independent judiciary to enforce both a simple statutory criminal law, and a common law to handle other externalities. It’s as simple as that. Any other scheme by government can only serve to circumvent the natural consequences of people’s actions. I make good, for government works by mandates, and if choice is already in full abundance, why would adding mandates help to increase choice?

Debate Between a Communist and a Capitalist, Part 3.

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Pedro el Communist: Wait, what? First of all, I feel like your mixing two bowls of the wrong stuff. Second, how was the, “depression” of the early 1920’s worse than the Great Depression? And Hoover didn’t do his, “interventionist” ideals until after the stock Market Crash in October of 1929 (he was only in office for 6 months by that time). Correct me if my facts or false.

Blackstone: I made many points, so what two bad bowls am I mixing? You ask how the Great Depression of the 1920’s worse than the Great Depression. A couple quick examples would be production, GDP, and unemployment figures. What you say about Hoover was true, he started his Keynesian style policies (like he wanted when he was Harding’s Commerce Secretary) when he was about 6 months in office. His and Roosevelt’s policies greatly prolonged the Great Depression; the most they accomplished was to stimulate mal-investment. What’s missing from your picture of what caused the Great Depression, is that in 1924 (which was after the recovery from the 1920’s Depression), the Fed started a massive expansion in credit which fueled the stock market crash in 1929. After a couple of years of expanded capital manipulation by various forms of regulation, but mainly monetary and fiscal stimulus, the Great Depression was well under way in 1931. Easy money must necessarily create mal-investment, for the consumers will not have the money to pay for the increased consumption, thus producing a bubble.

Pedro el Communist: If you’re looking at strictly unemployment, the Depression of the 1920’s was much easier than the Great Depression. During the Height of the Depression (winter of 1932) unemployment went to about 25%, while in 1920’s it went to 11-12%. And how did Roosevelt’s and Hoover’s policies promote mal-investment? From what I see, the first New Deal was just economic relief to people, get people in jobs and get them money. The 2nd New Deal I could see as prolonging the Great Depression, but still not that much. And, wasnt the New Deal worsening the Great Depression, b/c when Roosevelt stopped using Keynesian policies in, (what year, 1936 i think, maybe 1935), and he tried to balance the budget, the economy went into a recession? Doesnt that acknowledge that the New Deal helped somewhat in the Great Depression, if nothing, people’s hopes?

Blackstone: The only thing that I won’t cover from your last remarks is your history. You see, what you’ve written is so screwed up that to authoritatively put the matter to rest, I’d need several hours at least to go back to find various documents and records. I just don’t have that time.

Any who, not quite right about your unemployment figures, you see unemployment numbers are often calculated in many ways. It’s like you’re trying to say that a three-foot tall man is higher than another man who’s two yards tall, because three is greater than two. You have to be extremely careful when coming up with economic statistics because two different measurements are not only often used, but usually used. I was talking strict percentages of people fully employed.

As for the New Deal helping people, how can you help someone by taking their money, then giving back a portion to the very people you just pick pocketed? How charitable is that kind of scheme? It’s a ridiculous proposition to say that it helps.

Pedro, when you describe the New Deal, you describe the rationalization, but not the result of the bill. If we are to talk about the economics of the New Deal, we have to deal with praxeology and its consequences, not the attempted moral ratiocination for an evil action.

There are laws of economics, just like there are laws of physics: you can’t go against them without drawing the natural consequences of natural law. Let me go over some of these laws of economics instead of the history: we’re not getting anywhere with the history. I think things will become a bit clearer if you understood a few causal relations in economics. Most economists would kill me for simplifying and dumbing down markets as much as I’m about to do, but I kind of have to do it for the sake of time and making it easy to understand. Remember how I talked about the areas of capital manipulation that were used in the Great Depressions? Let me explain as simply as I can. I realize you haven’t studied economics.
The main cause of the mal-investment was from monetary stimulus: the Fed created money out of thin air, lent it out to the government and private banks at rates lower than the market demand. The money that was used by the government also made fiscal mal-investment worse, but I’ll explain that later. The majority of the money went to private banks. Now banks lend out the savings of their customers right? Well why shouldn’t they be able to lend out more? Well the savings represent resources that people want to use in the future. When there’s a lot of savings, the interest rates go down encouraging businesses to invest in future projects, because that’s what people consecrated their money for. Yes I say consecrate, for is not money a God endowed stewardship? And are not our stewardship to God what in turn consecrate us?

Anyway, when savings are low, interest rates go up, indicating to business that little future investment is necessary since people only have the resources to purchase what they are presently consuming. Now they still compute market prices to determine what things are of the greatest (subjective) utility relative to the current production/supply. But basically, savings allows resources to be allocated to a later date when that option has been determined by the individual consumers to be the highest utility of all available choices. Now what do you think happens when artificially low interest rates creep in? The money, being produced by inflation, is taken from people’s income and savings. So what happens? People, especially the lower classes, become poorer due to the inflation, and the money is mostly transferred to businesses that use it to expand, hire employees, stock up, etc., on things which the consumers are not yet ready to purchase. The only way for these things to be purchased is through consumer debt which individuals enter into. Because the banks have all this looted credit being devalued if they let it sit without collecting usury, they give it to people who would otherwise be considered bad credit risks. And because it’s easier to borrow, because the liabilities are less immediately costly, borrowers borrow much more than they otherwise would because the payments are smaller. This is a false economic signal because the cost of credit will go up sooner or later. Also, the banks savings account yield is lowered because of the competition of easier, cheaper credit, thus further discouraging, decreasing, and punishing savings. Individuals, businesses, and governments take an unreasonable amount of the cheap money, because it’s… well, cheap. The easy money thus sends a false signal to employers that there’s demand for the goods. It’s like if a circus rolls into a small town, and all the people who work in the circus start going to this one restaurant all the time. Imagine if the restaurant owner were to see the increased demand and were to think it was permanent? This guy would probably expand, open up another restaurant, and hire new employees. And because restaurants profit margin is almost always slim, if existent at all, this would all be funded by debt. But what happens when the circus leaves town? The employees of the second store will be sitting there idol, and will quickly be fired; the second store will fail; the entire business will probably fail. This is basically what happens when such false market signals are sent, and they can only be sent by the government.

Have you ever heard from one of your teachers that the Great Depression was largely fueled by too much credit? That’s a common narrative, and there’s actually more truth to that than they realize. The question is how did all that lending happen? It couldn’t have been an unregulated free market, because the market is naturally restricted in how much money it can lend by the amount of savings, which are real assets. Because of this, you can’t lend more money than actually exists. No, it was plainly the result of easy money, for the Fed at the time was creating monstrous amounts of credit off of the sweat and labor of the American people.

And what’s more, top experts of all of today’s major schools of economic schools of thought, even socialist monetarists like Christopher Sims, or Paul Krugman believe that the Great Depression was the result of bad Federal Reserve policies, although for different reasons. Of course, I doubt your schools teach this. Why would they share what the experts think, even the experts of their own persuasion if it might cause students to question the merits of government planning, or the infallibility of the planners?

Ludwig Von Mises defined socialism as the government ownership or control of capital. Therefore, by his definition, the New Deal, government manipulations of private business by regulation, and the Fed in all its actions are socialist. I say this so you can understand where he’s coming from when he said this about the American progressive movement in his book Bureaucracy:

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!”

As for fiscal mal-investment, I think you’ve started to catch on by now. The government does not, “give people money”, nor does it, “invest”. There are dozens of reasons for this, but for time and simplicities sake, I’ll just enumerate a few. The government around the Great Depression got its money in two ways: 1, by looting from people through taxes, tariffs, etc., or 2, by artificial credit produced by inflation. So in either case, the money is simply plundered from people. So what are they going to do, give some of it back? Why would they then take the money in the first place? No, the point is to allocate capital. The presumption is clearly that the government, operating only by bureaucratic rules, without any reference to either financial statement or index, can make smarter investment decisions than private parties who were the initial creators of the said wealth. But if so, why doesn’t the government invest all the time? Why doesn’t the government produce its own revenue stream instead of taking from the real producers? Why haven’t totalitarian forms of planning such as Communism worked? Why aren’t we or any other country on Earth, living in a vast government utopia resembling the Garden of Eden? Answer these will you, or do you not have an answer? Perhaps you’ve made the greatest economic discovery of all time, but I doubt it.

So Pedro, wherein is a New Deal project of greater utility than the food, clothing, shelter, and other things that real living breathing human beings want during a depression? Wherefore are the fruits sown of coercion better than those sown in freedom? If they are, would you then claim that Satan’s collective, coercive plan of his own government utopia was superior to that of Christ’s offering of free agency? Are you claiming that those founding principles and the Constitution of the United States are really inferior to your own socialist ideas?

Debate Between a Communist and a Capitalist, Part 2.

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[A spectator starts a new topic by asking about whether or not the corporate income tax is a good thing or not.]

Blackstone: The corporate income tax is a poor way of raising revenue; for one thing, coming up with definitions for income across the entire spectrum of American business, while doing it in a way that’s comprehensible, precise, and uniform is impossible. The tax code is extremely over complicated for a reason: markets are complex. Our tax code is literally impossible for any human being to comprehend, yet it is not complex enough to handle it’s present demands. The other reason why it’s a bad idea was already pointed out by [name of spectator] in the question: you shouldn’t tax production. Instead, taxing consumption is better in general. I believe that we can learn a lesson from the anti-federalists. Perhaps the Federal government should tax the states instead of the people directly? That would be more voluntary and democratic, plus the competition between the states would create a better system overall. Of course, we could always use direct taxation during a war or other crises. As a default however, perhaps we should let the states collect the taxes, letting the Federal government take its portion from the states? Wouldn’t you like to live in that kind of system? It could extremely easily work if the Federal government slashed the budget down to its constitutional restrictions.

Pedro el Communist: Sure? Well, I’m no constitutional buff, and all I know right now is what I have learned from U.S. history this year, but the reason why income tax’s came was during WWI and WWII when the government NEEDED to get bigger to fight off world powers, and it got ever increasingly big since. So, to get rid of income taxes, that would mean eliminating most programs including Social Security, Medicare, and the military. Nearly every thing about government would disappear (which depending on the opinion is good or bad).

Blackstone: The income tax has existed at many times since the ratification of the Constitution, like the War of 1812, or the Civil War. This of course was unconstitutional, but it did happen a few times. When the 16th. amendment was ratified in 1913, it wasn’t because of a war. It was partially because we had an income tax at that point as well: the Constitution was so often ignored in this area that many figured an amendment wouldn’t change much other than making the Constitution easier to follow. But at this time, the rational for the tax itself was social justice. This is pretty much what the argument was, “oh don’t worry, the income tax will never go above 2 or 3 percent and it’ll only be on the rich.” The truth is that the tax shot up almost to 80% in less than 10 years, helping initiate a worse depression than the Great Depression. The Libertarian Warren G. Harding then took office, cut the income tax and budget in half, decreased regulation, and raised interest rates. In just a couple of years the roaring twenties came, right after the depression. Then the interventionist Herbert Hoover came in and screwed everything up with raised interest rates, tax hikes, pre-new deal programs, horrible monetary regulation, etc.. I know what he said about Mellon in his journal by the way, that has been taken out of context as supposed proof of Hoover being a laissez-faire guy. But remember that on the next page of the journal, he said he rejected his treasury secretary’s advice, instead going with unprecedented government intervention. Anyway, the income tax was increased a little to help fight those wars, but it was nothing major since it was already quite high. Also, the proposition that it got bigger over time is also not true: the rates and conditions of the tax have jumped around like crazy, it hasn’t been gradually rising. What have they teaching you in school?

Both individual and corporate income taxes provide less than half of our budget, plus when you lower income taxes, governments take a lot more in with other forms of taxation because people can keep more of their money. Not to mention income taxes can be replaced with other taxes altogether. So while it’s true that we would need to cut some of the budget (not like we don’t need to anyway), it would certainly not involve cutting nearly everything to get rid of income taxes.

Cutting government power in certain ways isn’t a good or bad thing depending on opinion, for its dependent on the natural law. Anyone whose thinking is not done according to the natural law is going straight to Hell, for Hell is a place consisting of broken laws. How could it be any other way?

I have some questions for you. What if we ought to obey the laws of the land, and the supreme law of our land is the Constitution? What if, since most of what the federal government is doing is unconstitutional, what if we then have an obligation to get rid of these things in order to obey the law? What if states could take over government responsibilities in the absence of the Federal government’s doing them? What if property is an area of man’s agency, and it’s important because we spend a lot of time on it? What if property is a part of our stewardship to God? What if such stewardships had to be managed by the individual in order for that individual to have fulfilled their responsibility to the Creator? What if the premise of welfare and other entitlement programs is wrong, because you can’t help people by taking their money, spending most of it on bureaucracy, and then giving back a small portion to the people you just legally plundered? What if government only got its money by forcefully taking it from people instead of creating its own? What if it’s against the nature of freedom to have most of the sweat of your brow forcefully taken from you? What if the reason we seperated from Great Britain was largely because of a couple tiny taxes, mostly aimed at the rich? What if God sent us to Earth so we could exercise free agency? What if God cares even more about us having control over our own lives, than he does about the results of our choice? What if God cared so much about free agency that he allowed murders and other atrocities to happen just so people could exercise their free will? How much is freedom worth to you? How much is freedom worth in general? How much have people sacrificed for liberty? How much are you willing to sacrifice for the same cause? Isn’t freedom the thing that gives us the choice to be virtuous? Isn’t freedom then the foundation of virtue?

Debate Between a Communist and a Capitalist, Part 1.

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This is a real, written debate between me and a Communist. I know the guy personally, I’ve known him since he was a baby. It’s also a bloody debate: the Communist gets murdered in here.

I will go under the name Blackstone, the Liberal I’ll be debating will be named Pedro el Communist (he’s literally a self-described Communist, I’m not making this up. I’m a Classical Liberal by the way, not a Conservative or Liberal, a Classical Liberal.

……….……….……….……….……….……….…….

Blackstone: People say that we shouldn’t allow rich people to donate too much money to political campaigns because it’s undemocratic: the rich are the minority. But if that’s the case, then why do we have a Senate? The Senate was designed (like the House of Lords) to very much favor the rich. The rich have rights to their property too. Property is called property because it’s yours, so why does the government, as well as those who don’t produce very much, often think it’s theirs? Isn’t forcefully taking something isn’t yours called theft?

Pedro el Communist: But, isn’t it also unfair how people who have a lot of money (big corporations to name) can donate so much money and can lobby Congress to persuade its members to do their bidding instead of the people they represent?

Blackstone: Yes, it is unfair how corporate bodies get special privileges. It’s called socialism by the way: the public ownership or control of capital. But it’s necessary to first draw a few distinctions to really make sense of American corporatism. A corporation is a collection of individuals, the complexities between laws for individuals and corporations often obscures this topic because the two are more connected then you might think. It’s also necessary to point out that nearly all the rules favoring the rich come not from the Congress, but from Federal Departments like the SEC, Federal Reserve, EPA, FCC, and the USDA; all of which have no authority of any kind to do these things, they’re not even elected.

But the most important thing to note perhaps, is the difference between the Congress and the Senate. Having read some of the recent laws coming out of Washington, I can tell you that the vast majority of big business policies come from the Senate, not the House. And that’s important, because while the House members are chosen by the people (as a practical practice), the Senate represents the states; allow me to state the obvious that the Federal government is a federal government, not a national one. Now since it’s a constitutionally limited confederation, the whole practice of interfering with business at this level is what’s unfair. If you wish to state that republican government is supposed to represent the people and not big business, then I should direct you to the various writings of Madison on faction. The Federal government is a special case of government, because it does not represent the people at all, it represents the states: these united states: this springs from both form and power. It also springs from both form and power that the Federal government has no authority to interfere with business. If you doubt me, I’m willing to explain the constitutional law behind this.

Being a Communist, you’ll probably object that I get all my knowledge about the Constitution from FOX News, or from Glenn Beck. But this is not the case at all, I don’t even get my knowledge from Oliver DeMille or Thomas Woods, I get it straight from the source: the original documents and records written by the founders, many of which are extremely obscure, yet are authoritative. I’ve studied thousands of pages of them. The same kind of thing goes for my knowledge of U.S. regulations; I go straight to the laws themselves. For example, during the whole SOPA/PIPA thing, I went and directly read the bill, instead of getting a pundits opinion. Anyway, I think I overkilled this topic so far, so I’ll rest my case.

Nullification: A Brief Commentary on the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.

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“The distinction between a national government and a confederacy is not sufficiently discerned.” -Patrick Henry.

Introduction: Before beginning, it would be prudent to know what the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions are. They are legal and political statements which were both adopted into law by the state legislatures, becoming the official Constitutional opinions by those respective states in 1798. The passing of the Alien and Sedition Acts triggered the writing and adoption of these two bills, since the Alien and Sedition Acts, being tyrannical, made it obvious that a way of recourse back to the constitutional rule of law was going to be warranted at some point. The Kentucky Resolves were written by then Vice-President Thomas Jefferson, writer of The Declaration of Independence, while the Virginia resolution was written by James Madison, the man who holds the title, “father of the Constitution.” The same knowledge about the rights of states to resist outside powers and other points that Thomas Jefferson had used in The Declaration of Independence was largely what went into the thought of the resolves. In a similar way, James Madison’s knowledge of the state sovereignty which arises from the forms or structures that governments take, likewise went into the principles of these resolutions. These laws were collaborated on by the two men. The principles talked about in the resolves are now sometimes referred to informally as the, “Principles of 98.”

When one undertakes to read original founding documents, they are surely to be stunned by the seemingly alien perspectives. There are a lot of funny terms, strange language, and of course, abundant anti-government rhetoric. One can hardly know what the founders and other classical liberals were saying unless one knows the definitions they’re speech labored under. Two such essential, and essentially different definitions that were held during the founding generation, were contained in the words federal and national. The founders (including the authors of these resolutions) saw a difference between a federal government and a national one. They defined a federal government, as a loosely bound collection of sovereign national governments, while they defined a national government as the central legal authority in a land.

A nation, they said, had lawful authority to do whatever it wanted except when it came to two matters, 1. the law of nations, and 2. legally binding treatise, contracts, in short, any legal agreement. The law of nations means that a nation should do all the good it can to every other nation without jeopardizing its own interests; the law of nations certainly wasn’t any kind of formal agreement between nations at the time, how could it be? Nevertheless, it was widely talked about in several western countries, especially France, England, and America. The law of nations came from Classical Liberal thought, and was largely intellectually accepted as being the only proper condition of relationships between two countries. Anything less than this was considered morally wrong and an illegitimate exercise of power. The second restriction on a nations legally legitimate exercise of power, they said, was that if a nation entered into an agreement, it had to follow it, for such was only proper. This was a nation.

A federal government is a collection of separate sovereign nations which come together for their common interests, except for those matters which would compromise their national sovereignty should the federal government get involved. For example, if a federal government produced any kind of business regulation, that would be an over reach of federal authority because that’s a nation’s job.

Why do I bring up the whole national vs. federal government distinction? Because the very first resolve in The Kentucky Resolutions immediately reminds us that the U.S. government is a federal government as opposed to a national one. That the states didn’t form the federal government on condition that the government could do whatever it wants, but that they limited it with enumerated powers in order to guard a states right to govern itself. What gave a state its rights? They saw the states as the nations, and like I said before, while they saw the United States government as a federal level comprising the states, for those were the potentially state enforced condign conditions upon which the union was set up. As Sir Edmund Pendleton explained in the Virginia Ratification Convention, “though the number [of federal congressmen] might be insufficient to convey information of necessary local interests to a state legislature, yet it was sufficient for the federal legislature, who are to act only on general subjects, in which this state is concerned in common with other states.” It’s not a matter of states rights after all, but a matter of the preexisting national sovereignty of the states.

These conditions could get to be condign because as Jefferson declared in the Kentucky resolutions, that whenever the U.S. government acts with undelegated powers (meaning powers not specifically mentioned in the Constitution), then that makes the action, “unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” And when the federal authority makes an unauthorized action, the states have not only the right, but they were duty bound to resist that action. Not the federal government in general, just those unauthoritative acts.

With the potential duty of state resistance, it’s important to know which party has the ultimate authority in determining the question of Constitutionality. That authority belonged to the states, for in a federal structure with no intermediate judge, the greatest common denominator of legal authority was the states. Now you might object that the Supreme Court has been made the judge of the Constitution, and indeed your right. But it’s been made the judge of Constitutionality, not by the Constitution for Article three yields no such power, but by its own declaration, which, without the authority of its constraining charter, leaves the Court with no lawful justification for the increase in power, but which by implication brands the Court as tyrants. But let us suppose that a part or whole of the federal government was made a judge of its own power, then according to Jefferson, “that would make itself, instead of the Constitution the ultimate judge.” Would not this make the federal government into an entirely national one, which surreptitious switch would destroy all authority of the government to exist in the first place, for it would demolish the lawful grounds upon which the union stood? For if the federal government decides the extent of its own power, then it has the ability to expand it to an unlimited degree, that being a nation.

But it was the intent of these resolves, not to destroy the power and authority of the federal government, but to preserve it. As the Virginia Resolution said, “to maintain which it pledges all its powers; and that for this end, it is their duty to watch over and oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the only basis of that Union, because a faithful observance of them, can alone secure it’s existence and the public happiness.” And might I add that since the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, “to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument [state ratification]“, then not only is the U.S. a truly federal government, but as Madison goes on, “the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits… .” Jefferson in his bill similarly states: “that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the general government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non fœderis) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them… .” But even after these beautiful explanations by Jefferson and Madison, some still wonder what they’re arguments were for how the states resisting unlawful power of the federal government could possibly result in a more lasting existence for the union, for this is what these founders claimed. To understand this, one must know what the generally excepted founding arguments were, for when secession should take place; these arguments were accepted by such luminaries of the day as Governor Edmund Randolph, George Mason, George Nicholas, Thomas Jefferson, St. George Tucker, and of course, James Madison. They said that the one case where the states should secede from the union, was if the union became fully national; interestingly, an example of this which St. George Tucker used in his book, View of the Constitution of the United States, was if Senators were elected by the people instead of elected by the states, then the union would become a kind of federal monarchy swallowing up the states into a new national order; for such a change in forms would remove the right of the states for suffrage. However, if the words interposition and nullification were to ring out of the states from the people, then secession would not be necessary, for if the states ever decided that succession was a proper course of action, by that time the States would have changed their federal government to the point that the states would have cause no longer for a separation, from our long, happy union.

A return to the national sovereignty of the states should be very welcome in our time, for the constitutional rule of law is the only proper foundation of political power in this great country, for it not only safely affixes the power of the union, but it keeps the united powers in proper proportion. Indeed, for the sovereignty of the states safely secures the sovereignty of the federal, for purposes of the states, “common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other.” 1. May it long be so, so our future may be bright. Long live our Republican Form of government, both in the Supreme States as the Constitution so specifically requires, and likewise in the federal government, comprised of the represented, representing States.

Remember the words of Patrick Henry, who, speaking of state sovereignty once said, “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.” 2.

1. Quote from the Articles of Confederation, Article 3.

2. Virginia Ratification Convention, Thursday, June 5, 1788.

So You Think You Know the Constitution? How Much Do You Really Know?

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For you to determine how well you understand some of the currently practical fundamentals of what the founders understood the Constitution to be, look below at these 10 very relevent questions about the Constitution and try to answer them. The answers are at the bottom.

  1. Do you know whether we’re a Federal or a National government and how that affects the constitutionality of various bills or programs?
  2. Do you know how the Constitution, “express a silent silent?”
  3. Is a gold standard a specific requirement in the Constitution?
  4. Is the income tax Constitutional?
  5. Does the United States government even have legal authority to exist in its present form?
  6. Since a majority of States have declared in their Constitutions that Obamacare is unconstitutional, it is therefore legally _____________ by the States, and every State and court in America has a right and duty to rebel against this law.
  7. Does the United States have the authority to engage in any regulations whatsoever in private business?
  8. Does the United States have legal authority to establish or maintain a central bank like the Federal Reserve?
  9. Where do States rights come from?
  10. Does the U.S. government have the authority to take over a State in times of crisis?

Answers:

  1. We are a Federal, not a National government, volumes can and have been written on the practicalities of this subject so I won’t get into that here seeing as it’s to complex for a short answer.
  2. As the American Blackstone pointed out as to the normal rules of Constitutional construction, “expressum facit tacere tacitum”. This was further supported by Madison in Fed 45.
  3. Yes, under Article 1 Section 8.
  4. No, despite the 16th. amendment it is still unconstitutional, for it violates the Federal compact which is the root of the U.S. governments authority.
  5. No, for the 17th. amendment legally null and voids all authority for the Federal government to exist until such time as the proper Federal forms are put into place, for coetus principatum pendet in membra, or as George Nicholas said in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, “representation is the corner-stone on which the whole depends.”
  6. Nullified.
  7. No.
  8. Not at all.
  9. The simple fact that we are a Federal government.
  10. Yes, if the State is in such a crisis that it has lost its sovereignty.

Dear Liberals, Shut Up About FOX News Already!

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I must confess, I rarely watch Fox News, but since people on the left constantly dismiss my facts about anything from economics, constitutional law, regulations and so forth, by claiming that I got it from Fox, it gets really old really fast. Why do they assume that I consume Fox News? Because in the absence of the knowledge that there is any political belief other than Liberal or Conservative, I usually get classified as a Conservative, and (this next part is sarcastic) we all know that if your a Conservative, then you watch Fox News. Of course, as you guessed, I don’t consider myself a Conservative, instead, I consider myself a Classical Liberal which is very different. In fact, Conservatives also often call into question my facts, and I have huge bones to pick with Conservatives as well, not as much as with Liberals, but still plenty.

Anyway, enjoy this video on the topic, he makes some great points. It was made by a Conservative commentator on YouTube (yes, I listen to other perspectives). Disclaimer: it wasn’t made by me or anyone I personally know.

Natural and Revealed Law.

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The Natural Law is the concept that there are certain eternal, absolute, unchangeable truths that determine what goes on in the universe. Examples of the Natural Law include the laws of physics (insofar as we can ascertain their truth), laws of getting wealthy (financial and otherwise), and laws of influencing people. In order to be free, individuals, families, and governments must follow the order of the Natural Law. Consider a man who throws a stone in the air, he may want it to continue on at the same pace unaffected by gravity, he may shout at it to, “fly like the wind!”, but in vain. Natural Law dictates that the rock is coming down. Possibly even on the head of this small minded man!

Of course, man’s law should be based on the natural law, but there is great difficulty in that, as Blackstone said: “if our reason were always, as in our first ancestor before his transgression, clear and perfect, unruffled by passions, unclouded by prejudice, unimpaired by disease or intemperance, the task would be pleasant and easy; we should need no other guide but this. But every man now finds the contrary in his own experience; that his reason is corrupt, and his understanding full of ignorance and error.” This is why we need the Revealed or Divine law; it is the easiest and most reliable way to learn the Natural law.

The Revealed Law is God’s law which he gave to man through his messengers, supremely Prophets. You find the Revealed law (sometimes called the Divine Law) in the Holy Scriptures. Open your Bible to Exodus 20, there may be found the Ten Commandments. They are basic moral laws which God gave, first to Israel, then to the world. Turn the page to Exodus chapter 21, these are some of the specific laws (the law of Moses) which God gave to Israel, and at one period of time only.

It’s important to learn principles, but when you learn of commandments which were meant to be applied only at certain times like the Law of Moses, we should not treat them as the letter of the law for our time. We should only learn general principles from them. It is however essential to apply to our lives eternal (always applicable) commandments of God, especially the Ten Commandments.

Natural and Revealed Law is superior to, and precedes man’s law. In fact, the only morally legitimate laws made by people are those which follow the Natural and Revealed laws. In the words of Frédéric Bastiat: “Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” May we remember the proper order in which life is supposed to take, where we and what God has given us is of utmost importance while as the state is merely the guarantor of our God given rights.

What is Capitalism?

What system did Alexis de Tocqueville say created the greatest equality of conditions? The answer to that question is Free Enterprise, or Capitalism for short. Capitalism is a system where people have private ownership and control over their own property. It means a set of simple, easy to understand laws which punish people who harm others by theft, deceit, murder, or other ills. In such a system, the government can only interfere in the economy to punish criminals by fair common statutory laws set up on the basis of equal opportunity. What’s the opposite of free enterprise? Socialist Europe is; they have a great deal of control over property, have TONS of difficult to comprehend laws, and are slipping economically like a Brezhnev era Apparatchik giving the party line. The laws in a Free Enterprise system however, are the same for everyone, not one set for manufacturing and another set for retail; not one rate of taxes for the rich, while another rate for the poor. Free Enterprise is fair; everyone in such a situation has the same interest in freedom as anyone else because the system is equal. If people are living in this principle of freedom and understand it, they will easily keep society in economic freedom, just like Americans used to do for so long.

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