Return to Common Sense
April 10, 2015
Section: Introduction - Philosophy
“United States began with a fine Constitution and we now need to use our “Common Sense” to force our elected officials to return to its underlying principles that government serves the people, and not vice versa, to reinforce the exceptionalism that makes this country great!”
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Thomas Jefferson
Philosophy (Background, Issues, Objectives):
Declaration of Independence recorded our founding principles.
- Early settlers fled to America’s Eastern shores for personal liberty and religious freedom.
- All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights (NOT negotiable):
o Among them are Life, individual Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Founders based Constitution on Judeo-Christian tenets.
- Early settlers fled to America’s Eastern shores for personal liberty and religious freedom.
- Americans take personal ownership and responsibility.
- Government is essentially secular in that it is not guided or controlled by any particular religion, but the underlying ethics are heavily informed by Christian ethics.
- Preamble referred to “secure the Blessings” from the Creator, God, as gifts.
- Our American institutions, our laws, both past and present, our mores, traditions and our deepest understandings of basic rule of law and common decency, have been based for more than three centuries on the English Common Law, which has from its genesis been steeped in the principles of Biblical scriptures and Christian faith.
Federal government was designed to serve the states.
- Adjudicate between the states.
- Protect the nation.
Government was designed to serve the people.
- Legislature was composed of citizen representatives (no professional politicians).
- Changes to laws were intentionally onerous to force due consideration (amendments).
Government was defined as a representative republic with three, equal, balanced branches.
- Legislative – create the laws.
- Executive – implement the laws.
- Judicial – interpret the laws.
Constitution established a federal government of limited powers, enumerated in Article I, section 8.
- Establish justice (courts)
- Insure domestic tranquility (punishing crimes)
- Provide for common defense (maintain armed services)
- Secure the blessings of liberty
- Bill of Rights (first ten amendments) was added to Constitution on December 15, 1791.
States rights are reaffirmed by 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution.
- People grant specific enumerated 18 powers to the Federal government, thus limiting Federal power.
- Each state has its own government, and can create its own laws.
- No state may enter any treaty, alliance, or confederation on is own.
- Each state is free to tax.
- Each state is free to spend.
Revolutionary War era essays helped sell the ideas of the new republic.
- “Common Sense” by Tom Paine, 1776.
- “The American Crisis” by Tom Paine, 1776-1783.
- “The Federalist Papers” by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, 1787.
- “The Rights of Man” by Tom Paine, 1791.
- “The Age of Reason” by Tom Paine, 1793.
America, as defined by the Constitution is not a democracy.
- Democracy, in its purest form, is nothing more than mob rule.
- Natural law and natural rights are the underpinning of the American founding.
- America was created as a representative republic composed of independent states.
Fundamental American Principles:
- Liberty – protect individual rights and freedoms.
o Individual freedom of action.
o Right to think for yourself.
o Trust in your own judgment.
o Freedom and property are inextricably linked.
· Equality – equal justice under law.
o Judiciary interprets, not creates law
o Strong families
· Fraternity – serve the common good
o Serve the majority, while respecting the minority
o Encourage responsible behavior
· Democratic – representative
o Legislature was composed of citizen representatives (no professional politicians).
o Limited government.
· We live in a competitive world.
o Freedom to pursue happiness; does not guarantee achievement of happiness.
o Individuals are free to make life decisions; and live with their consequences.
o Some people win; some people lose.
· We believe in America’s exceptionalism.
o Assume problems and mistakes are exceptions.
Principles of Constitutionalism
- The Constitution is a succinct summation of both the natural rights it affirms and a structure of government designed to preserve liberty.
- The Rights we have are affirmed in the Constitution and “negative” in character, meaning what the government cannot do to the individual possessing those rights.
o A “positive” view of rights is one where the government can compel the individual to do, or to provide for others.
o Natural rights are incompatible with positive rights.
- Natural and negative rights provide for a free, voluntary society, while legal positivism and positive rights provide for a coercive, totalitarian society.
Ten Principles of Freedom:
- No other human being can tell me what to do, without my consent.
- No other human being can compel me to serve what he has created, without my consent.
- No other human being can compel me to enter any obligation, without my consent.
- No other human being can compel me to work for him, or take my income or property, without my consent.
- The family, the union of a man and a woman to create new life, being the only discernible purpose of life, and the only means of perpetuating human life, is sacrosanct.
- Do not use or threaten violence.
- Do not cause or be party to a betrayal, sexual or otherwise, of your own or any other person’s family obligations.
- Do not interfere with the property of others.
- Don’t be dishonest.
- Do not use your freedom to interfere with the freedom of others.
The Idea of America:
· Man is created with certain inalienable rights, including Life, Liberty, and Property.
· Man has the right to self-government, the right to be left alone, the right to the fruit of his labors, the right to dispose of his property as he sees fit.
· All men are created equal under God and the law, and that no man can take away these rights, and that the sole duty of government is to protect them.
· The government must be accountable to The People, not the people to the government.
· Ours is to be a nation of laws, not of men, and that no one is above the law.
· Justice is blind, and man must be virtuous if he is to be free.
· Human rights come from the creator and cannot be abrogated by men.
In 1918, Congress adopted the American's Creed.
- The creed is as follows: "I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon the principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."
- The American's Creed was written in 1917 by William Tyler Page, an employee in the House.
- The Creed was accepted by the United States House of Representatives on April 3, 1918.
Core rights and liberties are contained in the founding documents.
· Never let the force of a majority take away the rights of an individual.
· Establish no right that is not given to all equally or that obligates another citizen for anything more than non-interference.
· Measure the success of government, not by how many services it provides, but by how many citizens are free and effective in meeting their own needs.
· Never sacrifice tomorrow's liberties for today's temporary needs for security.
· Protect the property rights of citizens to enjoy and control the fruits of their own labor and investments.
· Refuse to expend the money of constituents for benevolence best done by individual charities or local governments.
· Promote and preserve a sound, free-enterprise economy and protect economic freedoms--the freedom to work, the freedom to enjoy the rewards one earns, the freedom to own and control one's property, and the freedom to participate in a free market.
· Protect the right of individual self-defense, the spirit of resistance in defense of liberty, and the right to bear arms.
· Protect "we the people" from the abuse of government by creating checks and balances between branches that prevent hasty change, unnecessary regulations, or government tyranny.
· Ensure and promote the free expression of religion without ever establishing any state religion or denomination.
· Ensure freedom of speech that allows people to criticize their government, express unpopular opinions, or even express offensive comments without fear of government reprisal or criminal persecution.
· Establish, fund and maintain a vibrant and effective military force appropriate for the time and the threat that preserves the security of our country.
· Finally, ensure that all citizens, from the poorest to the richest, will equally pay their fair share of the cost of maintaining our Constitutional Republic - freedom isn't free.
Getting America Right has defined six simple questions to consider before supporting any policy:
- Is it the government’s business? (Constitutional principle of limited federal government)
- Does it promote self reliance? (Citizens should be responsible for themselves)
- Is it responsible? (Government should live within its means)
- Does it make America more prosperous? (Government should not hinder free markets)
- Does it make America safer? (Maintain a strong national defense)
- Does it unify us? (Our unity depends on a shared national identity)
Government Minimalist Guidelines:
· The need for government in a society varies inversely to the sophistication and affluence of its people.
· Government is a high-cost ay of doing anything.
· The less government does, the better off we are.
· Government cannot spend its way out of the economic hole dug by taxes.
· Since we need so little and the cost is so high, why do we have so much government?
· How to make and keep government small?
o Tell the voters the truth about the high cost of taxes weighed against the often low benefit of spending.
o Force Congress to adhere to a cost-benefit budget procedure, conducted in the open with full public notice and voter participation.
o Give everyone a “tax dividend” when spending reduction targets are met and send the bill for additional taxes when spending goes up.
Americanism is freedom founded on the power of the individual, and his ability to achieve without undue government interference.
- The state exists to serve man, to protect God-given rights, and to allow the greatest amount of political freedom within the bounds of ordered liberty.
- The people truly own their property and are not merely renting it, and that they are free to use their talents, initiative, and “can do” spirit to make the lives they dream for themselves a reality.
Reasons to be grateful and proud to live in the United States.
- The United States was the first nation in history created out of the belief that people should govern themselves.
- America really is the land of the free.
- No other country has done a better job of establishing equal rights for all citizens.
- This is the place where dreams can come true.
- We enjoy one of the world’s highest standards of living.
- No other country has welcomed and united so many people from so many different shores.
- The U.S. military is the greatest defender of freedom in the world.
- America is a world leader in scholarship and invention.
- Americans are among the most generous people on earth.
- The United States is the world’s greatest marketplace for the free exchange of ideas and information.
- This nation possesses an amazing capacity for self-renewal.
- America is a nation that looks to God for guidance.
The Seven Reasons America Became a Great Power
- Judeo-Christian ethics.
- A powerful military.
- Western culture.
- Resource-rich geography.
- Huge industrial capacity.
- A merit-based society.
- A Constitution that limited central government.
Limit size and intrusion of federal government to less than 20% of GDP.
- Limit federal government to only that role specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
· Ensure general welfare clause is not interpreted as an enumerated power to expand government.
- Ensure government accountability (annual audits using standard accounting standards).
- Ensure program accountability (comparing expected vs. actual results).
Enact the Enumerated Powers Act to link all legislation to appropriate constitutional authority.
· Require each Act of Congress contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act.
Hold Congress responsible for their words and actions.
- Require every member of Congress publicly recite the American’s Creed.
- Encourage personal responsibility and avoid blaming others for our own actions.
Champion those who serve the country honorably and make a real difference.
“Taking America Back” by Joseph Farah published by Cumberland House Publishing, 2003.
“The 5000 Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen published by National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2006.
“The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution” by Kevin R. C. Gutzman published by Regnery Publishing, 2007.
“Arguing with Idiots” by Glenn Beck published by Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009.
“The Citizen’s Constitution” by Seth Lipsky published by Basic Books, 2009.
“Common Sense” by Glenn Beck published by Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009.
“Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark R. Levin published by Threshold Editions, 2009.
“The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Founding Fathers” by Brion McClanahan published by Regnery Publishing, 2009.
“Saving Freedom” by Jim DeMint published by Fidelis Books, 2009.
“America 3.0” by James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus published by Encounter Books, 2013.
“The Purpose and Limits of Government” by Roger Pilon dated 1999 published by The Cato Institute at http://www.cato.org/pubs/catosletters/cl-13.pdf .
“L’Etat Cest Vous” by Phil Brennan dated August 20, 2003 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/8/20/12944.shtml .
“An Ownership Society Fosters Responsibility, Liberty, Prosperity” by Tom G. Plamer dated January 13, 2004 published by The Cato Institute at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6518&print=Y .
“Competition in Government” by Christopher DeMuth dated October 6, 2004 published by American Enterprise Institute at http://www.aei.org/include/news_print.asp?newsID=21341 .
“How to Read the Constitution: Self Government and the Jurisprudence of Originalism” by Keith E. Whittington dated May 1, 2006 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/PoliticalPhilosophy/upload/96515_1.pdf .
“Revolutionary No. 19” by Paul Jacob dated December 3, 2006 published by Town Hall at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/PaulJacob/2006/12/03/revolutionary_no_19 .
“Believe it or Not: An American’s Creed” by Robert Klein Engler dated February 10, 2007 published by American Daily at http://www.americandaily.com/article/17630 .
“Born in the USA” by Nicholas Eberstadt dated April 19, 2007 published by American Enterprise Institute at http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.25988,filter.social/pub_detail.asp .
“Credo in Unam Nationem, Sub Deo-Redux” by Geoffrey P. Hunt dated November 8, 2008 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/11/credo_in_unam_nationem_sub_deo_1.html .
“A Day for Rights” by Paul Jacob dated December 14, 2008 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/PaulJacob/2008/12/14/a_day_for_rights .
“The optimum government” by Richard Rahn dated January 29, 2009 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/29/the-optimum-government/ .