”Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God”—Tom Jefferson
Essential themes from the original American Revolution are resurfacing during Obama’s short tenure. As always, the People are bigger than any one man, and so it is quite fitting we return to our roots to fight tyranny by rising up against Obama’s imperial presidency, forcefully and legally removing him, just like rejecting Mad King George. Timeless revolutionary issues boil down to Natural Law arguments concerning rights to property, the purpose of government, sovereignty and tyranny.
Let’s examine these themes and ponder how the Founders reacted to them. We no longer have a potentate to revolt against, that much is true. Instead, we have a Prince Barack (Princess?) wanting every democratic organ turned into a one-party system. He’s duty-bound to personally transform our economy from a normally healthy capitalistic one into the permanently sickly socialist kind. Barack wants America humbled militarily and socially, to punish us for our “sins,” even deigning to build-up Islam with NASA, crazily enough! Obama insists we spend and spend until the only logical option left is insolvency.
But is this our fate? Must we just absorb any number of beatings, yet keep rising with a smile on our mangled faces like a perennially abused girlfriend? Instead, let us help Barack recall how we treat despotic kings, insipid leaders and crazed tyrants, by reviewing the history of the bravest, fairest, most just and generous nation that’s ever existed.
Arguably, the American Revolution resulted from success in grafting the ancient principles of English liberty into the States. The colonies were originally where Europeans, and especially English dissenters, could relocate to start over with small government, cheap land, religious freedom, and self-direction.
The American Revolution was rooted in the attitudes of the first settlers coming to the New World in the 17th-century. Most were embroiled in the English Civil War, carrying ideals of Lord Coke, and English liberties, like the Petition of Rights, promised by Parliament “all the rights, privileges, and immunities of Englishmen.” These were protected by right to trial by jury; governed by Common Law; could not be arbitrarily imprisoned; and weren’t to be taxed without consent.
As time passed various European-American territories came into conflict, especially occurring during the French & Indian War. This pitted four nations against each other. The French were soundly defeated, while the British, Iroquois and Americans all gained, but the States emerged with a trained military.
After the war, King George III decided the Colonies must pay their own way, and started taxing them. Much bitterness ensued as the first foreign levies were laid. The Boston Tea Party was an expression of colonial anti-tax fury helping spark the War of Independence.
Issues prodding Founders to rebel against King George mirror those goading current protesters to reject Obama: Sovereignty; Property, Liberty and Tyranny.
Today we face a government completely opposed to productive elements of society. Our Constitution presupposes capitalism, protecting private property, keeping government small. We can’t giganticize government without abolishing citizen rights to private property, or arbitrarily moving wealth from one group to another—without destroying our ancestral liberties. Our Constitution is our only real bulwark against tyranny.
Arguably, the American Revolution was a child of tax revolt. England launched several different levies, merely infuriating colonists enough to take up arms. For brevity, regarding various taxes the British established before the Revolutionary War, here is a link. Thomas Paine observed,
If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute. (Rights of Man)
Founders saw tax money as being just another part of a larger group—Property. James Madison, the main author of the US Constitution, wrote a compelling article on the larger notion of Property:
This term (property) in its particular application means “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”
In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.
In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandise, or money is called his property.
In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.
He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.
He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.
He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.
In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.
Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
Where there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho’ from an opposite cause.
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, whichimpartially secures to every man, whatever is his own. (The Papers of James Madison 29 Mar. 1792 Papers 14:266—68 )
We note a fascinating development of Revolutionary thinking expanding the notion of Property, by such Enlightenment philosophers as John Locke, Adam Smith and David Hume. The Founders believed the defense of private property was a foundation of liberty.
Richard Pipes, perhaps the world’s greatest authority on communism and socialism, claims freedom itself is impossible without a defense of private property. He writes in Property and Freedom,
In medieval Europe, and especially the seventeenth century, when the modern ideas of liberty were born, “property” came to be conceived as “propriety,” the sum total of rights to possession as well as personal rights with which man is endowed by nature and of which he cannot be deprived except by his consent and not even always then (as, for instance, in the denial of the “right” to sell oneself into slavery). The notion of “inalienable rights,” which has played an increasing role in the political thought and practice of the West since the seventeenth century, grows out of the right to property, the most elementary of rights. One of its aspects is the principle that the sovereign rules but does not own and hence must not appropriate the belongings of his subjects or violate their persons—a principle that erected a powerful barrier to political authority and permitted the evolution of the first civil and then political rights.
Rejecting England’s tyranny over Americans encouraged Popular Sovereignty’s debate. Sovereignty was the chief issue battled over between the colonists and England. Preeminent American Revolutionary historian Bernard Bailyn explains this in the Ideological Origins Of The American Revolution,
But of all the intellectual problems the colonists faced, one was absolutely crucial: in the last analysis it was over this issue that the Revolution was fought. On the pivotal question of the nature and location of the ultimate power in the state, American thinkers attempted to depart sharply from one of the most firmly fixed points in eighteenth-century political thought; and though they failed to gain acceptance for their strange and awkward views, they succeeded nevertheless in opening this fundamental issue to critical discussion, preparing the way for a new departure in the organization of power.
Definitions of British sovereignty evolved for decades, morphing to a tyranny of Parliament, according to Bailyn. Ultimately, Americans could not accept the British theory that all sovereignty resided in the English Parliament.
Religious and civil liberties were joined in American minds and were defended as such, according to Bailyn. Colonial Americans were profoundly disturbed by England’s insistence the Anglican Church be America’s official denomination. The great heroes of disestablishment were Separatist Baptists, keenly aware of their minority status, chaffing at the idea they would pay double—once for the established church and again tithing to their own congregations, while still experience discrimination. Unified protests by various denominations helped block establishment, causing the source of the First Amendment’s prohibition against an official state church:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…
This battle over Anglican establishment resembled the medieval Church’s struggle that released so much violent energy in Europe the previous centuries. We cannot today understand the extent colonial life was intertwined into the life of the Protestant churches. It was the work of Madison and Jefferson in Virginia’s constitution to articulate a well-expressed defense of religious freedom of choice.
Other scholars have revealed how the strata of American political theory could not exist but for Jewish and Christian teachings. It’s already been shown in this journal how the US Constitution was based upon the Puritan notion of Covenant, as shown by the work of Donald Lutz; whereas the federal theory of power sharing owes its conception to the ancient Jewish federal government, seen in Daniel Elazar’s many works. And Michael Novak argues in a compelling essay titled “Sacred Honor: Religious Principle In The American Founding” (in The Enduring Principles of the American Founding) that much of American political theory comes from an Old Testament understanding of God.
Even more intriguing is Ellis Sandoz’s description, in his A Government of Laws, Political Theory, Religion and the American Founding, that the entire undertaking of 17th century political writing—such as John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government—is a type of civil theology. The Founders regarded such as a “Divine Science of Politics.” In 1646, John Winthrop recited the Lockean formula that government primarily existed to protect ... “lives, liberties, and estates, etc., according to their due natural rights as freeborn English.” In Locke’s understanding of Property, reiterated by James Madison and all Founders, “Property” properly understood contained one’s Natural Rights, including all species of Freedoms and beliefs. Here we see the inseparable connection between the Founders religious ideas and their theory and defense of civil rights.
The Founders drew upon Natural Rights in writing the Declaration and Constitution, believing such were created by God, not government. If not, these rights would be mere privileges, to be canceled on a whim.
The Declaration states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
According to Sandoz, American Revolutionary preachers typically instructed their flock it was a divine duty to oppose tyrants. An example is the Reverend Samuel West, preaching in Boston on May 29, 1776, who develops this idea at length. He says a leader directing evil government is debased to the level of an animal. He states—in part:
This shows that the end and design of civil government cannot be to deprive men of their liberty or take away their freedom; but, on the contrary, the true design of civil government is to protect men in the enjoyment of liberty.
From hence it follows tyranny and arbitrary power are utterly inconsistent with and subversive…of civil government, and directly contrary to natural law, the true foundation of civil government and all politic law. Consequently, the authority of a tyrant is of itself null and void…
Our obligation to promote the public good extends to the opposing every exertion of arbitrary power injurious to the state…No man can be a good member of the community that is not as zealous to oppose tyranny as he is ready to obey magistracy. A slavish submission to tyranny is a proof of a very sordid and base mind…when rulers become oppressive to the subject and injurious to the state, their authority, their respect, their maintenance, and the duty of submitting to them, must immediately cease; they are then to be considered as the ministers of Satan, and, as such, it becomes our indispensable duty to resist and oppose them.
If we are still under the same Constitution, don’t we yet have a patriotic duty, divine or not, to oppose all tyrants?
Impeachment details are previously described here: article 1; article 2. But no specific crime need be proved of Obama, if he’s found undermining the Republic. Countless stories detail Barack’s absolutely astounding number of mistakes and imbecilic decisions (see above). But simply ponder—without government defense of private property, we are doomed to drift into socialism, and then lose our liberties. Historically speaking, no other outcome is possible. For this reason alone, Obama must be removed ASAP.
As Americans we don’t put up with tyrants, nor are we afraid of boastful, bullying politicians with wildly destructive agendas. In fact, we were born in dissent, breaking the shackles of tyrant King George III, fighting our way to freedom. We used every peaceful means to protest, but our cries for liberty and justice were ignored. Finally, when we were fired upon at the Boston Massacre, we then took the gloves off. Now, it’s time to roll up the sleeves again and get our hands dirty with the filthiest cabal of politicians ever seen in DC. Many will claim that Barack has such a numerical advantage in Congress, impeachment is impossible. But let’s see what the field looks like after November’s elections.
The US theory of principled dissent against tyrants is not only biblical, but eminently logical to even the staunchest atheist. If we do impeach Obama, what will be the result? Overly—emotional liberals will wring hands and warn of a “coup” and “blood in the streets.” Actually, the impeachment process is meant to avoid bloodshed and allow peaceful removal of corrupt or tyrannical leaders.
Instead of causing major social unrest, impeaching Barack could achieve notably wholesome ends. First, putting all corrupt politicos on notice they don’t own their seats, but serve the People. Second, revitalizing the ignored impeachment process, making possible removal of our typically scum-of-the-earth “leaders.” Third, saving America. For, if we remove Barack now, stop his wild spending, roll back Obamacare, and halt his other leftist machinations, it might be the one thing we have left in the arsenal to preserve our celebrated, but badly wounded, best-ever Republic.
And let us not forget, it was peerless genius and Declaration of Independence drafter Thomas Jefferson who wrote to friend and fellow genius James Madison, drafter of the Constitution —that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” And if Obama can’t take a joke, let’s then recall Patrick Henry’s immortal reply to charges of disloyalty, when he criticized Parliament and King in his first speech in the VA House of Burgess : “If this be treason, make the most of it.”
Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. He was born on the West Coast, raised in Las Vegas, and matriculated from the University of Oregon. After laboring for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland, he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia, where he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government. He spent a stint working as a researcher and writer of academic articles at a Miami law school, focusing on ancient law and society. He has also been employed as a university Speech & Debate professor. He then returned West and worked as an assistant district attorney. Kelly is now is a private practitioner with a small law practice in New Mexico. Kelly is now host of a daily, Monday to Friday talk show at AM KOBE called AM Las Cruces w/Kelly O’Connell
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