When the Constitution was written way back when, it was supposed to be a blueprint for keeping government tyranny off the backs of the common folk. Part of the way this was supposed to be accomplished was division of power. The federal government was to be divided into three branches of equal power. This was supposed to provide checks and balances so that one branch or another could not become tyrannical and force its will onto the common folk. In addition, those three branches themselves were to be divided so that power would be shared inside the branches of government, supposedly making it even less likely for tyranny to gain a foothold. For various reasons, this idea failed, sort of, yet there is hope that people can peacefully force the federal government to once again respect the natural rights individuals are born with.
There are many freedom advocates who will claim that the Constitution has failed, but my answer to that has almost always been that it is the common folk who have failed to use the law of the Constitution and hold their elected officials accountable for breaking that law. Almost immediately in our history the Constitution began to undergo changes. In the early 19th century it was changed to allow for a presidential/vice presidential ticket rather than selecting the two separately. Many say the reason for this was to prevent a coup d'etat from taking place. Its real effect was to begin the slow consolidation of power in the executive and the political conversion from individuals discussing the issues of the day to a two party system where certain issues were buried and hidden from public scrutiny.
Ever since, the three branches of government have been colluding to increase their own powers rather than fighting to keep the others in check as was the original intention. When I say that, I don't mean that they have been secretly plotting with each other, but it seems to be a natural progression of government to use the force of law entrusted to it to stifle competition for the services it provides. Thus, it should be no surprise when government begins to disrespect the natural rights of the populace it is bound to protect. Government is simply trying to grow in strength and power as is its wont and will continue to do so until the governed decide to keep it in check. The governed, who are mostly the common folk, cannot depend on government to keep itself in check no matter how many branches it is split into, nor can they depend on words written on a piece of paper to do so, this is simply not in the nature of government. In order to keep government in check and prevent it from becoming tyrannical, the people themselves must take action.
Traditionally, it has been the judicial branch that the common folk looked to for remedy against government abuse. This has always been folly, but it seems to have become worse of late. Lysander Spooner is a good example of the failure of the judicial to protect the natural rights of individuals. In the 1830s he formed a postal service to compete with that of the federal government. His service was quite adaptable and did quite well, taking many customers from the federal system. The feds didn't like having their toes stepped upon. They didn't like a private individual showing initiative and directly competing with one of their services. They didn't like having their monopoly privilege challenged, so they had their agents, probably men with guns who obeyed orders without question and imagined they were doing the right thing, shut down Lysander Spooner's operation.
Mr. Spooner took the only option he felt he had for remedy, he took his case to the federal courts. These were the courts that were supposed to protect the rights of individuals. Mr. Spooner felt many of his rights had been violated by government, not the least of which was the right to conduct business on a voluntary basis, to make a living and to acquire private property with the earnings from such business dealings. I know these rights aren't spelled out in the Constitution, but they seem pretty apparent to me and the ninth and tenth amendments to the Constitution leave no doubt that not all rights are spelled out in the previous amendments, but they do exist nonetheless. The government courts did not side with Mr. Spooner. They did not protect his individual rights. They would not bite the hand that feeds it. Instead, they protected the monopoly privilege of the federal government. They helped increase its power.
The question becomes, how much tyranny will the common folk take? What line must government cross before they decide it is worth their time and effort to get off their butts and take action, to do something to restore the freedoms and rights every human should enjoy by nature of his being? Well, it could well be that we have found that line. Apparently, enough people believe that individuals should be able to express themselves through silently dancing at memorials that they have decided to take part in civil disobedience. This in response to a judge's ruling to the contrary.
It started with an unnecessary arrest, as happens more often in this nation than some might guess, and snowballed into a quest for real freedom. Like so many arrests, this one wasn't really about what they claim it was about, it was about questioning authority and not obeying questionable orders. Being an individual, expressing one's own thoughts and feelings, and thinking for one's self seems to be a crime in this nation more and more often these days. When an appeals court upheld a ban on silently dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, a small contingent of individuals decided they did not agree with that decision. They decided that this law was a violation of individual rights as well as a silly prohibition on a harmless human activity. They decided to do something about it rather than wasting time and money taking it through the government's court system that so often sides with the government.
What resulted was an exposure of the violent nature of government. Peaceful people who had harmed no one were arrested, one after being slammed to the ground and choked, and hauled away for doing something that no one had even complained about. The arrests happened again because, in my opinion, people refused to simply do as the police said, not because dancing at a public monument is an inherently dangerous activity that needs to be stopped.
The above arrests led to an outcry, fortunately. It's about time such an outcry took place. Hundreds of people showed up the next Saturday to proclaim that they could dance if they wanted to, they could leave their cares behind, and it didn't matter what the courts or the police said. You can see some of the footage at this link. This shows that it is not the courts that are going to protect individual rights from the intrusions of the government, it's you. The police aren't going to honor your rights, they will not honor their oaths to the Constitution if they took such an oath, they are going to mindlessly obey anyone they consider their superior and enforce the law no matter how unjust, unconstitutional, poorly written or just plain immoral. The only way they will ever know better is for the people to take action and expose them as the jack booted thugs they are. The only way our rights will be honored by the political elite is for the common folk to insist upon it.
This was a victory for the freedom movement. It was a victory for the indomitable spirit of the common folk. There will be another dance party on July 4th, Independence Day. If you can make it out to show your independence and promote freedom, you should. This is the kind of involvement that is necessary to send a message to the federal government that we are not sheep waiting to be sheered and we will not simply roll over and let them get away with anything they want. My hope is that this will grow into something bigger. My hope is to some day soon see such a movement demanding the rollback of all intrusive government laws and agencies. We should not only be allowed to dance at national monuments, but even in airports if we so choose. Let freedom ring across this great nation of ours, and let us dance to the ringing we hear.
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