Kumozarusan's Playlist

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The "Full Faith and Credit Clause" and NY State Gun Laws Regarding Non-Resident Carriers

Due to Tea Partier Mark Meckler's incident in New York at La Guardia Airport, where he was arrested for possessing a handgun that he has a valid CA carrying permit for upon his alerting TSA about his stored handgun according to TSA policy, I was prompted to look at NY's gun laws concerning non-residents and the ability to carry pistols and how these laws relate to the Federal Constitution.

http://www.nraila.org/statelawpdfs/NYSL.pdf

NY law states, according to the Nation Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA/ILA), "It is unlawful for any person to carry, possess or transport ahandgun in or through the state unless he has a valid New York license," under the "Non-Residents" section.


However, Article IV Section 1 of the Constitution lately, says "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state."


Indeed, I think we can clarify the meaning of this clause by citing the journal of the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which reads:

Aug. 29th, 1787:

"It was moved and seconded to commit the following proposition[:]  Whensoever the act of any state, whether legislative executive or judiciary shall be attested and exemplified under the seal thereof, such attestation and exemplification shall be deemed in other State as full proof of the existence of that act-and it's operation shall be binding in every other state, in all cases to which it may relate, and which are within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the State wherein the said act was done, which passed in the affirmative [the motion passed in the affirmative in the Convention].

Indeed, It was also noted by Justice Joseph Story in his 1833 "Commentaries on the Constitution," #1307, that "If a judgement [of a court] is conclusive in the state, where it is pronounced, it is equally conclusive every where [in the other states."  This means, according to rulings in court trials through out the 1800s, that judgements made in one state by a court are also recognized in the other states as the official and standing judgement.  Thus, if court judgements are recognized in each and every state and are acknowledged as the official judgement of that court that issued it, and give give full faith and credit to it, then why not laws and permits as well?  If a man owns property in one state and travels to another state and shows the property deed in the other state, then will not that property deed be recognized as legitimate by the new state the traveling American citizen is in?  I would believe so.  What about if a man brought an iPod or Computer he had bought in one state into another state, and brought proof of this purchase with him indicating it was his property.  Would or should the state he traveled into confiscate the item brought with him, despite his proof of purchase and property, and say it was not actually his property because the confiscating state didn't recognize the authorization of the sale or the business that sold it, even though that business had a license to sale such items in the state the man just came from?  I would think not.  Common sense and reason would object to such a tyrannical act by the confiscating state.

Let us look at another specific example concerning driving vehicles in the states.  All states allow non-residents to drive within their borders provided they have a driver's license issued by another state.  They also allow cars registered in other states to enter the border of NY state and remain there for however long the driver will be there.  This goes the same for proof of driving insurance.  Driving insurance issued in one state is recognized as proof of insurance in all the other states.  NY driving laws state the following:


"You must have a NYS driver license or a valid driver license from another US state or from Canada to drive in NYS. In most cases, you can drive in NYS if you have a valid driver license from another country."


Now, why is it not the same with handguns?  I believe it should be, given the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" of Artical IV Section 1 of the Constitution

Since Mr. Meckler has an official CA issued and approved concealed-carry permit, and reportedly did all he was required to do according to TSA laws, NY must give full faith and credit to his right to possess that gun and travel through or visit NY; I believe he was completely within his rights to do what he did.  I also believe New York has no authority to make a law that prohibits anyone from possessing or carrying a gun in NY unless they have a NY issued permit and no other permit issued by any other state.  Such a law is in violation of the "Full Faith and Credit Clause."  Are New York authorities now going to start pulling over, arresting, and prosecuting non-New York residents just happening to pass through or visit New York in their cars with plates from another state and carrying their driver's license, car registration, and insurance from another state as well?  If NY can't make a law that prohibits drivers driving cars registered in other states, carrying driver's license issued by another state and insurance from another state, or passing a law that only allows those with NY registered cars, NY issued driver's licenses and NY insurance to drive in NY, then they can't do it with gun carriers possessing and showing a state-issued permit from another state.

New York can make whatever laws it wants for individuals who want to buy a gun/firearm in New York, including permits and what not, but I believe it can't legally pass a law that prohibits non-NY residents with another state issued carrying permit to carry in NY and be consistent with all its other activities it legally allows non-NY residents to do in NY with other state issued permits/licenses, etc.

That's what the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" declares, I believe, that even though something is illegal in one state yet legal in another, the laws enacted in one state must be acknowledged by all the other states.  If a non-resident is visiting, traveling thru or even living in NY (yet remains a non-resident), yet already possesses a gun & a carrying/possessing permit from another state, then the state he/she is visiting, traveling thru, or even living in must recognize that permit as lawful & they cannot confiscate his/her weapon.  Now if the individual moves to NY and wants to purchase a handgun in NY, NY can make the individual first acquire a NY issued permit, but if the individual moves there with a lawfully purchased handgun with permit to possess and carry issued from another state, I believe NY, and all states for that matter, are bound to give full faith and credit to the permit issued by the other state.  After all, they do with driver's licenses, cars, and insurance registered, purchases, or issued in/from/by another state.  

Sure, the 10th Amendment gives the state's their rights, but only those not "not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it."  The "Full Faith and Credit Clause" is one way the Constitution limits state's rights.  If the states acknowledge certain acts of the states, like the driving example, then they should do so for all acts in the states.  That's the way I see it.  This may not be the practice, but that's the letter of the law, at least, according to interpretation of the "Full Faith and Credit Clause."

More on Bastiat; An Argument for Bringing our Troops Stationed Abroad in Foreign Lands Home and Discharging them from the Military

With the official and formal ending of the War in Iraq happening today, 12/15/11, and having just read the chapter on Demobilization in Frederic Bastiat's "That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen," I decided to write the following argument for bringing our military home from being stationed in foreign lands where there is no war being fought by the United States.

Thoughts on why bringing our troops home from Iraq and other nations they are stationed in and discharging them from the armed forces will benefit the US in more ways than leaving them stationed abroad:

Many may oppose bringing our troops home from the foreign nations they are stationed in for unemployment and economic reasons. They may say, "Oh, if you bring these soldiers home, they won't have any jobs; the army provides them jobs on the foreign bases they are stationed at, thus leave them there." But to these individuals, this I say, in the words of Frederic Bastiat, "this is what is seen." But here is "what is not seen."

1.) These soldiers are trained in the army not to remain in the army perpetually, but to return home and become private citizens once again, using the skills they learned in the army in their own private lives and professions. Military schools and the military in general are not there to keep building up the army perpetually, until we have a huge swollen military occupying not only our home turf, but foreign nations as well. On the contrary, military academies and the military in general are there as cheap alternatives for those who don't have enough money to attend college, so as to learn life skills and discipline, and learn skills in some sort of a trade that will help them in private life as a private citizen.

2.) These soldiers are currently taking tax payer money away from the tax payers so as to provide them food, clothing, facilities, equipment, and their profession. But, if we were to bring these soldiers home and discharge them, these money used to keep them in the military and overseas in foreign nations would then return to the tax payer, which could then be used in the economy to provide businesses with more income so as to be able to create more jobs for those expanding and profiting businesses. Thus, the returning home and discharging of surplus soldiers in the armed forces, particularly those station abroad in foreign lands, would help create employment for them at home via the returning of tax revenue to the tax payer that once went to keep these soldiers, now turned private citizens in the army. All that is done is taking money away from the public sector and redirecting it to the private sector, which is the actual generators of profit and jobs.

3.) What do these American soldiers in foreign lands where there is no war being fought benefit America? Some say security, some say our interests, etc.
But I say that they benefit us hardly anything at all, if anything at all. Rather, like Bastiat says, we have either two choices. Keep these soldiers abroad and in the military, benefiting America nothing, especially economically, but maintaining a burden on tax payers, or bring them home and not only have the added benefit of tax revenue returning to the tax payers and creating more jobs for the returning soldiers, but also add on the services these jobs and soldiers now employed as public citizens will bring to the American economy and people in the form of economic exchange and creation of more products available for consumers to purchase.

Now, if you don't believe me, or find my train of though difficult to follow, take a look at the following chapter from Frederic Bastiat's writing called "That Which is Seen and that Which is Not Seen." Bastiat explains it much better than I. I merely connect it to our modern day situation in America.

http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle%3D956&chapter=35428&layout=html&Itemid=27

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Socialism of America, in the words of Frederic Bastiat

Please kindly take a few minutes to read the following excerpts from Frederic Bastiat's "The Law," and you tell me if unemployment benefits, medicaid, medicare, and progressive and selective taxation are legal plunder, and thus socialism.

http://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/real-world-evidence-showing-that-unemployment-insurance-benefits-increase-unemployment/



"The Law:"

"No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack.  When successful, we would not have to thank the state.

But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions.  And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable manners.  The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose.  The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting, and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect.  The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others.  It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder.  How has this perversion of the law been accomplished?  And what have been the results?

The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy [which are unfortunately both prevalent in America's laws today].

Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it.  But how is this legal plunder to be identified?  Quite simply.  See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to others persons to whom is does not belong.  See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.  When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it-without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fruad-to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed.  [Of course, in America, we have unfortunately consented to this transfer of wealth via our representatives in Congress, but we don't typically get compensation for this wealth transferred via equal benefits in return]

Under the pretense of organization [planning], regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few.

Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways.  Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements [enticements], progressive taxation [& selective taxation], public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on.  All these plans as a whole-with their common aim of legal plunder-constitute socialism.

Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder.  Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon.  And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism?  For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes [an armed police officer], and your prisons.  Rather, it may call upon them for help.

This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it: We must make our choice among limited plunder, universal plunder, and no plunder.  No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic.  Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs.

Law is organized justice.  When justice is organized by law-that is, by force-this excludes the idea of using law (force) to organize any human activity whatever, whether it be labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion.  The organizing by law of any one of these would inevitably destroy the essential organization-justice.  For truly, how can we imagine force being used against liberty of citizens without also being used against justice, and thus acting against its proper purpose?

Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times.  It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic.  Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement.  Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.  This is the seductive lure of socialism.  A citizens cannot at the same time be free and not free.

I cannot possibly understand how fraternity can be legally enforced without liberty being legally destroyed, and thus justice being legally trampled underfoot.

It is to be pointed out, however, that protectionism, socialism, and communism are basically the same plant in three different stages of its growth.  All that can be said is that legal plunder is more visible in communism because it is complete plunder; and in protectionism because the plunder is limited to specific groups and industries.  Thus it follows that, of the three systems, socialism is the vaguest, the most indecisive, and, consequently, the most sincere stage of development.  But sincere or insincere, the intentions of persons are not here under question.  In fact, I have already said that legal plunder is based partially on philanthropy, even though it is a false philanthropy."

http://www.fee.org/pdf/books/The_Law.pdf

Indeed, it appears that America is socialist, unhappily as it may be for friends of liberty, justice, and equality before the law, yet happily for those socialists and false philanthropists amongst us...


____________________________________________________

12/15/11, More commentary on Bastiat's "The Law:"


The only problem with Bastiat's reasoning in the following excerpt from "The Law" is not the reasoning itself; the reasoning and conclusions he comes to are indeed correct, I believe.  But due to the difference in times between Bastiat's age and our age, Bastiat was not probably able to comprehend the lengths to which the opposers of just law, those proponents of coercion, socialism, and authoritarian government and dictatorship are actually willing to go to obtain their ends, for whatever purposes, be they greed/power or false philanthropy. For we see today that the proponents of these forms of government have bastardized the words "liberty," "equality," and especially "justice." To them, "justice" is giving to others who don't have as much by taking from those who have more, with it's sole meaning being that only of "social justice."  And any natural rights of the people standing in the way must be sacrificed for this supposedly "higher good," "good" in the eyes of them alone yet UNJUST in the eyes of those whose rights they violate in order to shape society according their desires.  Such a society practices unjust means in the name of a false justice, in order to bring about an artificial "justice" that actually is the exact opposite of true JUSTICE. Supporters of such methods of bringing about their artificial "equality" and "justice" through unjust and unequal means have indeed tried to make the government responsible for and capable of anything, including the temperature, and have attempted to blame the corporations and humanity for changes in the temperatures and weather as if man could have control over nature. Ha! As if! We can't even consistently and accurately predict the weather and temperatures, much less be responsible for them. Thus, Mr. Bastiat's words, while wholly appropriate and relevant to our time, must be taken within the context of what justice truly means, meaning it is blind and favors no one over any other.

With this warning in mind, please kindly proceed with reading Bastiat's words: 

"The Basis for Stable Government:
Law is justice. In this proposition a simple and enduring government can be conceived. And I defy anyone to say how even the thought of revolution, of insurrection, of the slightest uprising could arise against a government whose organized force was confined only to suppressing injustice.
Under such a regime, there would be the most prosper- ity—and it would be the most equally distributed. As for the sufferings that are inseparable from humanity, none would even think of blaming the government for them. This is true because, if the force of government were limited to suppressing injustice, then government would be as innocent of these sufferings as it is now innocent of changes in the temperature.
As proof of this statement, consider this question: Have the people ever been known to rise against the Court of Appeals, or mob a Justice of the Peace, in order to get higher wages, free credit, tools of production, favorable tariffs, or government-cre- ated jobs? Everyone knows perfectly well that such matters are not within the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals or a Justice of the Peace. And if government were limited to its proper func- tions, everyone would soon learn that these matters are not within the jurisdiction of the law itself.
But make the laws upon the principle of fraternity—proclaim that all good, and all bad, stem from the law; that the law is responsible for all individual misfortunes and all social inequalities—then the door is open to an endless succession of complaints, irritations, troubles, and revolutions.
Justice Means Equal Rights
Law is justice. And it would indeed be strange if law could properly be anything else! Is not justice right? Are not rights equal? By what right does the law force me to conform to the social plans of Mr. Mimerel, Mr. de Melun, Mr. Thiers, or Mr. Louis Blanc? If the law has a moral right to do this, why does it not, then, force these gentlemen to submit to my plans? Is it log- ical to suppose that nature has not given me sufficient imagina- tion to dream up a utopia also? Should the law choose one fan- tasy among many, and put the organized force of government at its service only?
Law is justice. And let it not be said—as it continually is said—that under this concept, the law would be atheistic, indi- vidualistic, and heartless; that it would make mankind in its own image. This is an absurd conclusion, worthy only of those wor- shippers of government who believe that the law is mankind.
Nonsense! Do those worshippers of government believe that free persons will cease to act? Does it follow that if we receive no energy from the law, we shall receive no energy at all? Does it follow that if the law is restricted to the function of protecting the free use of our faculties, we will be unable to use our faculties? Suppose that the law does not force us to follow certain forms of religion, or systems of association, or methods of education, or regulations of labor, or regulations of trade, or plans for charity; does it then follow that we shall eagerly plunge into atheism, hermitary, ignorance, misery, and greed? If we are free, does it follow that we shall no longer recognize the power and goodness of God? Does it follow that we shall then cease to associate with each other, to help each other, to love and succor our unfortunate brothers, to study the secrets of nature, and to strive to improve ourselves to the best of our abilities?"

http://www.fee.org/pdf/books/The_Law.pdf


Monday, December 5, 2011

Frederick Douglas on Security of Any Kind in Exchange for Liberty





Frederick Douglas, in his autobiography, explains it all in one short sentence concerning why the gaining of material security, or any form of security for that matter, at the expense of the liberty of the individual is not only the definition of slavery, but is also morally wrong and a violation of the laws of nature and nature's Creator:

"My feelings were not the result of any marked cruelty in the treatment I received; they sprang from the consideration of my being a slave at all. It was slavery, not its mere incidents I hated. I had been cheated. I saw through the attempt to keep me in ignorance. I saw that slaveholders would have gladly made me believe that they were merely acting under the authority of God in making a slave of me and in making slaves of others, and I felt to them as to robbers and deceivers. The feeding and clothing me well could not atone for taking my liberty from me."

"THE FEEDING AND CLOTHING ME WELL COULD NOT ATONE FOR TAKING MY LIBERTY FROM ME."

This concept applies to all kinds of slavery, political and chattel, be the master a man and the slave another man, or the master the government and the slaves the people of the nation over which this government reigns supreme. And this quote also applies to all forms of security, including physical security, like that proposed by the TSA or the indefinite detainment provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, all in exchange for our liberty and constitutional rights.

http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle%3D2007&chapter=138723&layout=html&Itemid=27



The maxim generally credited to Benjamin Franklin is true, I believe, that "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Letter to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Concerning the unconstitutionality and immorality of Indefinite Detainment of Alleged Terrorists


This is an email I sent to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, concerning his remarks in the debate concerning the indefinite detainment of alleged terrorists provision (especially those who are American citizens) in the new National Defense Authorization Act recently passed by the Senate, receiving "yea" votes from many of the Democrats in the Senate.  Senator Graham, of course feels it's ok to indefinitely detain alleged terrorists, keeping them in military possession, "humanely," he says, without trial and due process, without their right to counsel, and without being read their Miranda rights.  To this I argue that Senator Graham's position, as well as this provision in this bill is not only unconstitutional, violating the 5th Amendment and the right to a Writ of Habeas Corpus guaranteed in Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution, but I also argue that this position and provision is immoral in light of Christian beliefs, coming from a supposedly Christian man.  I also believe that what Senator Graham sees as "humane," indefinitely detaining alleged terrorists in military custody without allowing their 5th Amendment rights to due process and counsel, as well as their right to a Writ of Habeas Corpus, is indeed "inhumane," being that we are denying alleged terrorists, still human beings, their life, liberty and property, as well as their pursuit of happiness without due process and their other constitutional rights.  How can it be humane to deny a man/woman his/her constitutionally guaranteed rights?  I say it isn't humane to do so.  But, below is my email letter to Senator Lindsey Graham outlining my aforementioned arguments, to which I received a responding emailing notifying me that the Senator only has time to respond to the letters of South Carolinians.

___________________________

Senator Graham,

I would like to comment on your alleged comments concerning the detention provision within the National Defense Authorization Act recently voted upon in the Senate:

You comments are as follows, taken from a Huffington Post article:

"The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?"

"They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer," Graham said. "They should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us."


I would like to ask you, Senator Graham, seeing as you deem yourself a Christian and appear to be a member of the Southern Baptist church, which leads me to assume you have a belief in the Bible as the word of God, how you can believe that any man, much less an American citizen, arrested and detained on suspicion of alleged terrorist activities, can be detained indefinitely without trial, without a lawyer and without being read his/her miranda rights? 

I ask you this question with relation to the Christian religion that both you and I share because as mentioned in the Bible, both Old and New Testament, there will come in the last days "the last/final judgement of God" upon both the righteous and the wicked, as stated in Ecclesiastes 3:17.  Seeing as you are a Christian, and believe in the Bible, you must believe there will be a last judgement of mankind by God Himself in the last days, where both the righteous and wicked will come before the judgement bar of God to be judged according to their works, as stated in Matthew 16:17.  If my assumptions concerning your beliefs are correct, then how can you seek to deny the children of God, our fellow human beings, our fellow brethren and sisters, American citizen or not, trials and judgements, as well as lawyers and rights when even God our Father will hold us before a trial and judge us in the last days according to perfect justice and equity?  Do you believe that God had a hand in establishing this great nation, The United States of America?  I wholeheartedly believe that.  And if you believe this too, and that God will give even those wicked who fight against Him and His people a trial and judgement in the last days, then is it not our duty and responsibility, as a nation favored and established by the hand of God, and as fellow children of God endowed by Him with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to: give to all individuals arrested and detained by American police or military personnel for alleged violations of American laws or terrorist activity the very same rights that not only we expect to be guaranteed by our governmental authorities, but also the right a swift trial and a judgement, AKA due process, including the right to counsel, according to the laws of our land, which land and Constitution was established by the hand of God? 

How can we deny our fellow human brethren and sisters, all children of God, the very rights God guarantees to us, both wicked and righteous, among which are a trial and judgement for alleged crimes, so as to determine if we are truly guilty of such crimes and eligible to be punished according to the law?  The police and military personnel in this land are neither judge, jury, nor executioner, as you and all other members of Congress also are not.

I ask you these questions in earnest.  I believe support for such provisions as unlimited and indefinite detainment without trial, without right to counsel, and without being read Miranda rights is not only contrary to our laws laid down in our Constitution, namely the right of the Writ of Habeas Corpus and the right to due process (laid out in the 5th Amendment), but is immoral as well.  We are neither in a state of rebellion nor are we being invaded such as the public safety may require the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, as mentioned in Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution.  And the Supreme Court has ruled that all detainees arrested on suspicion of violating the laws of the USA have the right to counsel as well.  And we must remember, Senator, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  If you would like a swift trial and judgement, a lawyer, and your Miranda rights read to you if you were ever arrested and detained for whatever reason, you should be willing to guarantee it for others as well, even your enemies, and even when your enemies would not do the same for you.  Those are the commandments of Christ, and as Christians, we should follow them.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Liberalism vs. Conservatism, Defining "Liberal" and "Conservative" Governments

On Liberalism vs. Conservatism, Defining "Liberal" and "Conservative" Governments:






James Otis, Jr., an early American radical Whig and lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts said the following in his 1765 pamphlet called "Consideration on Behalf of the Colonists in a Letter to a Noble Lord:"


"The Great love pillows of down for their own heads, and chains for those below them.  Hence 'tis pretty easy to see how it has been brought about, that in all ages despotism has been the general tho' not quite universal government of the world."


Free, limited government based on the concept of liberty of the individual has been rare throughout the history of this world called Earth, and while it is condoned and upheld by God, our Creator, it has generally, though not universally been unhappily stamped out of existence by God's arch-nemesis, enemy, and opposition, Satan in countries and governments that choose to follow him and his principles.  There have been those rare occasions where free countries, societies, and governments built upon the golden and Godly principle of liberty of the individual have arose and flourished, America being one of them, but compared to the number of tyrants of despots this world has seen, these beacons of hope and liberty have somewhat few in number.  And thus, because they are not the norm, they are therefore the liberal form of government, the norm being the conservative form of government.  Tyranny and despotism, as defined by John Locke as rulers who exercise governmental power beyond that granted them by the people via their laws, and who violate these laws of the land consented to and promulgated by the people or their representatives...in other words, unlimited, arbitrary power in the hands of the government; these two forms of government have unfortunately been the norm throughout the history of the world.  And thus, tyranny and despotism, being the general norm throughout history, can be deemed the conservative form of government.  Any principle, ideal, law, or proposal that leads to and furthers tyranny and despotism as defined, no matter how much they may be (wrongfully) labeled "liberal" or done in the name of "liberalism," cannot and will never be truly "liberal," but will remain "conservative," being that they uphold the unfortunate general norms of government that are tyranny and despotism.


James Otis, Jr.'s pamphlet may be read by consulting the following link:


http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2336

A quick biography of James Otis, Jr. can be read by consulting the following link:

http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Fperson=4746&Itemid=28

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Thoughts on the UC Davis Pepper Spraying Incident

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wuWEx6Cfn-I
Here's my thoughts on the UC Davis pepper spraying incident:

I have trouble finding a whole lot of sympathy for the protestors for a few reasons, not because I don’t feel bad for them being pepper sprayed. I feel bad they had to suffer pain and humiliation at the hands of the police via pepper spray and detention, yet it must be remembered that the protestors choose their consequence, using their agency, knowing full well what would happen if they did not comply with the at first non-forceful dispersal requests of the police. I say this for 3 specific reasons:



1.) There is a difference between non-violent legal protests and non-violent illegal protests, namely one is legal, having obtained permits to do so, and one is illegal, bypassing the obtaining of permits to protest on either private or public land. These individuals, from all accounts, did not obtain permits to occupy UC Davis, and especially did not obtain permits to occupy this sidewalk. As such, regardless of whether a protest is peaceful or not, it all depends on whether it is legal. I have no problem with civil disobedience when, as Locke explained, the government uses force to execute laws that it has no right to execute. And I see nothing wrong with civil disobedience when all other lawful means of redress have been exhausted or denied. But these students appear to have violated this important process of redress of grievances. They bypassed from the get-go, the first step of obtaining a lawful permit to protest on UC Davis, and particularly on this walkway, blocking it to all pedestrian traffic, and went straight for civil disobedience. If these students had applied for a lawful permit to protest, and had been denied this permit for illegitimate reasons, solely because the city didn’t want them to express their 1st Amendment rights, then occupying, and had been denied repeatedly, as well as denied help from other government officials in obtaining this permit, then civil disobedience would be in order for these students to express their 1st Amendment rights. Or, if these students had been granted the lawful permit to protest at UC Davis, including on the sidewalk, and had been asked by the police to vacant the sidewalk in direct disagreement with the permit granted, then the protesters have the right to civil disobedience and not move. But neither of these scenarios was the case. They did not seek, and thus did not obtain the lawful permit to protest, and thus they must adhere to the lawful requests of the police to disperse and cease from areas of pedestrian traffic. But they didn’t, obviously.

2.) A sidewalk is an area designed for pedestrian traffic, as a road is designed for vehicular traffic. Just as one may receive a ticket for purposefully blocking vehicular traffic on a road, one may receive a ticket for purposefully blocking pedestrian traffic on a sidewalk. For example, if one parks in someone’s driveway, and blocks the sidewalk, they are typically in violation of a city ordinance, and either can be asked to move their vehicle or receive a ticket or citation of some kind. For the sidewalks are meant for pedestrian traffic, especially those who may be handicap in some way and need the sidewalk, like a blind person, or a person in a wheel chair. If a car or even people are blocking their way on the sidewalk, then it’s not like they can just easily pass around them on street or in the case of UC Davis, on the grass. This could be done, of course, but not so easily for a blind person, someone with crutches, or someone in a wheel chair. A permit may be obtained for purposefully blocking a road or sidewalk for protestation of grievances, and blocking vehicular or pedestrian traffic in this manner would be perfectly legal. But, the UC Davis protesters did not seek to obtain, nor did they obtain such a permit to block the sidewalk, and therefore, when they refused to disperse and stop blocking the sidewalk, the police were justified in forcibly removing them, for the protesters ignored a lawful dispersal order.

3.) There is no difference between peacefully violating the law in unjustified situations and violently violating the law in unjustified situations, other than one reeks of physical violence while the other remains relatively passive in physical exertions by the protesters. But both are unjustified and violate the law, which in a way could not necessarily be called passive or peaceful. Resisting officers of the law in their attempts to clear public places of traffic or other public areas that are occupied illegally by protesters, either in their verbal attempts or in their physical attempts to pull the protesters away, is difficult to label as peaceful or passive protest. How can one peacefully or passively yet unjustifiably violate legitimate laws? And can be screaming slogans and pre-written, often cliché chants at the police after unjustifiably disobeying the their lawful dispersal orders be called passive and peaceful? Perhaps physically, but what about mentally? Police are human too, and humans often react in stressful situations in sometimes unpredictable ways, and if there are screaming people disobeying your lawful orders, tempers can boil, as is natural to expect, and it is natural to expect something to result from such a situation, be it from the police’s end or the protester’s end, or perhaps both, and this time it resulted from the police. Was the police spraying pepper spray “excessive force?” Well, perhaps to some, or perhaps not to others, but before we make such judgments, we must make sure we have as many of the facts on our side as possible. We don’t know exactly how many times the police tried to get the illegal protesters to disperse, particularly from the sidewalk, and how many times they tried to do so without force and using tame means of doing so. But it seems from the video that they had been warned at least once to move. Using pepper spray from the get-go in such a situation would be uncalled for and excessive force, to be sure, but if all other means had been exhausted by the police, and pepper-spray was the next most humane step in getting the illegal protesters to disperse, then they are justified in doing so, and the protesters receive their reward for disobeying a lawful order to disperse from the police during an illegal protest, unjustified by the fact that the protesters bypassed attempting to seek a permit so as to protest legally.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let's Keep the Light Shining Ever Brighter as Individuals.


I gave a talk this last Sunday in church, based on a talk given by member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, Quintin L. Cook, given during 2010's General Conference, titled "Let There Be Light."  


For those readers (if there be any) that don't know, I am a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-in other words, I am a Mormon.  Here is my talk, for those that are interested in reading.  I originally had much more that I wanted to say in this talk, but I had to eliminate quite a bit due to time constraints-I was limited to 12 minutes.  And without further adieu,  here it is: 

______________________________________________________

Using Elder Quinton L. Cook’s 2010 conference talk “Let There Be Light” as my guide, I wish to speak concerning what we can do to avoid and hinder the spread of wickedness and darkness over this earth, and bring others unto the Light of Christ and his love, as well as his protection from the ensuing storm of evil that is brewing on the earth.
One form of darkness spreading over the earth in modern times is atheism, or rather, the belief that there is no God, and thus no morals and no principles to abide by, every kind of action being accepted because there is no right or wrong.
Elder cook says of today, “Basic belief in the power and authority of God is not only questioned but also denigrated.”  We often see science used as a means of attempting to prove there is no God and to denigrate those who have faith in God’s existence.  I personally believe Science is synonymous with God, or rather, used by God, God being all-powerful and all knowledgeable, and thus knowing and using science, even science beyond our mere human comprehension.  But there are those in society who would have us believe that because something can’t be scientifically proven, then it must not be true, including the existence of Heaven, Hell, and God.  But to assert such assumes man knows all there is to know of science, which isn’t true.  We know much about science, but not all there is to know.  Our entire world and universe abounds in proof that there is some being out there who has much more power and knowledge than us, God’s children.  And this being is God.  I find the words of the American Founding Father, Thomas Paine, applicable to these men of science: such attempts as these to destroy religion or belief in God and His power by use of science “pervert the sublime and enlightening study of natural philosophy into a deformity of absurdities by not reasoning to the end.”  It is using something of God to try to prove there is no God.  It isn’t possible.
We are told by many in society that morals and values are relative, that we can do we what we like without fear of punishment by a God, either because no God exists or because he will justify us in the license of the natural man, as the Anti-Christ Nehor taught in the Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon Anti-Christs say this is because either God has redeemed all men, no matter what they do, or because there was no Christ and no Atonement, and that there is no such thing as good or evil, or right or wrong.  And as we’re told in 2nd Nephi chapter 2, if there is no right or wrong, no righteousness and no sin, then God would cease to be God, and in essence cease to exist.  Such false and dangerous ideas lead us away from God and His laws, and away from Liberty, ordained by God, to license, or doing as one pleases without any consequences, which is upheld by Satan.  But, we know there was an Atonement by Christ, and therefore there is right and wrong, and thus God does exist, having power over all. 
But we know these false notions concerning God or the non-existence of God, as well the casting aside of His law and moral values based upon His law are utterly untrue, as told to us by the prophets of old in the scriptures, and by the prophets of today.
One solution Elder Cook proposes so as to avoid the spread of atheism and subsequent license to do as one pleases without any consequences and all the evils that accompany such beliefs is to ensure that “values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse.”  Such a discussion and encouragement of values based on religious belief will continue to spread and brighten light, specifically the Light of Christ, in an ever darkening world of wickedness and sin. 
Elder Cook said, “we find that the majority of people are still respectful of basic moral values.  But make no mistake: there are also people who are determined to both destroy faith and reject any religious influence in society.” To protect ourselves against these attempts, Elder Cook warns, “In our increasingly unrighteous world, it essential that values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse.” As God makes known to the Nephites in 2nd Nephi chapter 1 and through out the entire Book of Mormon, as well as to the future Gentiles inhabiting this American continent, meaning us, those who receive this land of promise as their inheritance, a land of liberty and freedom, must either serve God or be brought into captivity and enslavement, and possible destruction upon refusal to repent.  And one of the most important ways we can serve God, as King Benjamin explains in the Book of Mosiah, is to serve our fellow man.
Elder Cook says, “religious faith is a store of light, knowledge, and wisdom and benefits society in a dramatic way when adherents engage in moral conduct because they feel accountable to God.”  There must never be coercion of religion upon the people by anyone.  But, this does not mean the people should not continue to encourage religious faith among the population.  Ensuring that these values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse so as to hinder and avoid the advance of atheism and all the evils and darkness that accompany it has been a principle taught and pleaded for by our Founding Fathers of this country. 
The importance of a belief in God and the moral values that result from knowing we are accountable to Him for our actions in this life, as reiterated by Elder Cook is his talk “Let there be Light,” is exemplified by the Founding Father Thomas Paine, who disagreed with many religious tenets of the 18th century world religions, yet reiterated often the importance of maintaining a belief in God and following those principles and laws established by Him in the laws of nature.
Indeed, one of Thomas Paine’s biographers, John Keane, described in his book, “Tom Paine, A Political Life,” Paine’s views on the evils that were accompanying Atheism and relativity in moral values in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and which describes our very day in age.  To paraphrase his words,
“Paine argued, Christianity [and I, might personally add, religious faith in general] keeps alive an ethical tradition vital for nurturing republican democracy. To destroy Christianity [and I would again add religion in general] by force [and I would add, or any other means] was potentially to destroy its good moral teachings.  From Atheism’s point of view, everything would become permissible.  Liberty would be crushed by license, [which we defined already as doing as one pleases without any consequences or accountability].  Individuals would be forced to swallow the dogma that the existence of God is [an old and boring] superstition, that hell is a myth, and that individuals have no soul.  Indecent prints and obscene books would go on sale.  Moneymaking, egoism, and love of lucre would mushroom.”  In other words, the love of men towards their brothers and sisters would wax cold, and selfishness would abound.
John Adams, wrote in the early 1800’s,
"If [the] empire of superstition and hypocrisy should be overthrown, happy indeed will it be for the world; but if all religion and all morality should be over-thrown with it, what advantage will be gained? The doctrine of human equality is founded entirely in the Christian doctrine that we are all children of the same Father, all accountable to Him for our conduct to one another.”
These moral values found in religious belief include the 10 Commandments and many other Judeo-Christian morals values and principles which all people should base their daily conduct on and all nations’ governments should espouse, for they are not solely for the Judeo-Christian.  These moral values belong to the whole world and all of the human family, regardless of one’s religious creed or whether one has a religious creed.  All that the Savior did in his life and does for us now in our lives can be found in these Judeo-Christian moral values and principles.  Elder Cook emphasizes the moral principle of honesty and treating all children of God as brothers and sisters.  And might I also personally add the commandment “though shalt not covet” as one of the values that would benefit us in today’s world.  This, of course does not mean we legally favor Judeo-Christianity over any other religion or prevent others from sharing their religious or non-religious beliefs, but that we continue to spread and live by these righteous principles ourselves and as much as possible as a nation and society.  Elder Cook says, “The moral foundation of our doctrine in the LDS church can be a beacon light to the world and can be a unifying force for both morality and faith in Jesus Christ.  We need to protect our families and be at the forefront together with all people of goodwill in doing everything we can to preserve light, hope, and morality in our communities.”  This gives us all the more reason to share the gospel with as many people as possible through missionary work, for remember, every member is called to be a missionary and share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And one of the ways we can do this is to be an example of light to others.
Another way we can protect ourselves from the ensuing storm of darkness, which we know must necessarily come, as has been foretold in the scriptures, is to ensure that we keep our homes a safe refuge of righteousness from the wickedness of the world.  This includes keeping all things that would drive light away out of our homes and family environments, things like pornography, inappropriate TV shows, movies and internet sites, foul language, animosity between family members, and all things that drive away the Spirit of God.  We must also not only expel darkness from our homes and families, but we must also seek out and invite light into our homes by having weekly family night, daily family and individual prayer, daily family and individual scripture/doctrinal study, and introducing into our homes all things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy,” to quote Elder Cook.
We must remember the following, spoken by Elder Oaks in his talk on tolerance:
“So it was that at the conclusion of His ministry, Jesus prayed to the Father, “not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (John 17:15).  We are to be in the world, but not of the world.”
Elder Cook has optimism concerning the continued belief in God and His power and Authority in the world.  He speaks of Mormon mourning the rejection of Christ and His Atonement by his brethren Nephites, yet Elder Cook speaks of those “large numbers who worship God and feel accountable to Him for their conduct” in all nations today.  Truthfully, I find it very difficult sometimes to see things from an optimistic point of view, seeing the wickedness of the world and the rejection of God and his power, authority and plan of salvation for His children.  But this is wrong, for we should all be as optimistic as Elder Cook.  Indeed, we can be optimistic and joyful of the fact that, like in the war in heaven, although there may be that small few who will reject God and His laws and plans, we can be joyful at the fact that there will be many who will believe in God and accept Christ’s Atonement.
It is our duty to not only seek light and allow it to shine in our lives and in the lives of others, but we must also allow it to stay on forever by doing those things that will allow it to do so, by keeping our homes a place of righteous refuge from the wickedness and evils of the world.  As Elder Cook says, “Freedom and light have never been easy to attain or maintain.”  Indeed, Thomas Paine wrote his series called “The American Crisis,” “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”  The forces of coercion, unrighteous dominion, and darkness, created and led by the adversary, who is the father of all lies, are relentless in overthrowing agency, freedom and light, and will stop at nothing to do so, and try to take as many of God’s righteous children down with them.  And the adversary has become ever so consistent, persistent and cunning over the time man has been on earth, to the point where he takes what is good and makes it bad, makes good look like bad and bad look like good, and makes light look like darkness and darkness look like light.  Once we have freedom and light, we must guard it ever so jealously, because the armies of evil and darkness will always be there with a plan devised to overthrow it.  2nd Nephi chapter 2 tells us we have the agency to choose light, liberty, and eternal life through Christ, or darkness, slavery, and eternal damnation and suffering.  As the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade says, choose wisely, for in the day of final judgment, we shall earn our wages according to our works done in this life.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.