Tag: declaration of independence

It’s Time to Ensure Equal Standards for Government and the People

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

In today’s political landscape, government and the people do not have an equal amount of power. Such a notion really is indisputable, considering the fact that our military just aided Saudi forces by supplying weapons and mid-air support to their air strikes, which bombed and killed a bus full of schoolchildren in Yemen Thursday. However, not one of them will face a prison sentence, or any real punishment at all. In fact, most of this, like the planes, flew under the radar of the people entirely.

Clearly, if an individual did this, he or she would be looking at a nasty punishment, likely involving the electric chair. But ironically, the death penalty is also an example of government carrying more rights than the people. As the average time spent on death row exceeds 15 years, it is safe to say that this is no act of self defense. Thus, it is yet another legal ability government has, but the people do not. It’s darkly and bitterly funny how the state sees killing. They kill people who kill people, because killing people is wrong, right? Got it. How else would you deal with someone who does something so morally reprehensible as killing someone?

Now, the list of government privileges that the people do not have goes far beyond these two. For example, the government may confiscate your land through eminent domain, then take and sell back your right to fish on that land. Imagining the consequences of an individual trying to do the same to his neighbor leads down a wicked path to the end of a shotgun barrel, not to mention a potential for some more government-approved killing as well.

Despite this clear power imbalance, the most crucial part of the Declaration of Independence directly warns against such an atrocity.

To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. 

The Consent of the Governed clause is a tremendously important segment of the document. Though not legally binding, it establishes an important precedent for the types of government that may exist.

Essentially, this clause states that the people may choose what powers they give to the state. Power begins with the people, and then, they may delegate them to the state at will. But how can the people delegate powers that they don’t have in the first place?

The question stumped Vermont’s very own Senator Bernie Sanders, in a 2008 interview. The independent, on a YouTube show with Jan Helfeld, agreed that all just powers of the government are derived from the people. But then, after some back and forth questioning, Sanders admits that people do not have the right to initiate force against others (sans self defense).

As Helfeld excellently questions after this, how can the people delegate this right, if they do not have it? If the people give their rights to the government, and that is the only form of just government, how does a just government obtain rights that the people did not have, and thus, were entirely unable to give away? This sends Sanders, and likely many others, into a tailspin.

The senator admits that the people give the state the power to make war and roads. Then, he goes so far as to say yes, people can give government rights they do not have. However, this is entirely contradictory to his previous statement.

In no way is Bernie Sanders alone in his clearly contradictory beliefs in this manner. He just happened to be unlucky enough to get caught under the net of Helfeld’s tough questioning. When it comes down to it, all 100 senators have the same ideals as Sanders, in this way. All claim a desire for a just and representative government, as outlined by the founding documents of our country. Yet, all support a government with rights that the people do not have.

Last March, the Senate voted, 55-44, against a treaty that would have made it more difficult for the president to place troops in Yemen without congressional oversight. In fact, Sanders, along with Senators Mike Lee and Chris Murphy, were on the right side of this one. Had the bill passed, Congress would have needed to approve any further military action. But in this case, even the right side ignores the real issues.

Regardless of whether or not the president or Congress is stationing troops in Yemen, there is a body forcing troops to go to Yemen. Yes, it is true that the draft is not currently active, and those in Yemen are volunteers. But the Senate made sure in 2016 that they had the power to round up the troops if necessary. When the civilians do that one, it’s called kidnapping.

Ultimately, it matters little whether the men (and women now) in Yemen are volunteer or recruit. Likewise, it matters little in the 39% of the world’s countries the United States is fighting terror in. Spoiler alert, terror is winning. With each civilian casualty, terror spreads. And as it all happens, the government approves it, clearly without a justification.

Thomas Jefferson was an imperfect man, owning slaves and having an affair with at least one of them. His public policy was also, in many cases, hypocritical, as his distaste for noble blood matched his equal belief that white blood was superior. But, when it comes to the Declaration of Independence, the third president is spot on.

A government, if it is to exist at all, must derive its rights from the consent of the governed (not from 51% of them, either). Today’s state entirely ignores this principle. In many cases such as with Senator Sanders, our elected officials do not even realize their own hypocrisy. It is time to take the government back, end the wars, bring the rights back to the people, and eliminate those rights which do not exist at all. It is time to ensure equal standards exist between government and the people. The future of our country and the lives of those abroad depend on it.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

2018: The Year to Legalize Marijuana

By Nick Hamilton | USA

Legalizing marijuana needs to happen in 2018.

Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Marijuana is bad for our kids.” “Marijuana is bad in general!”

Well, it’s really not.

In 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 33,171 alcohol-induced deaths. That’s 33,171 more deaths than cannabis had. Yes, you read that right. Not ONE death in 2016 was attributed to the use of marijuana, an illegal drug, however, 33,171 deaths were attributed to alcohol. You’d think that with those statistics, alcohol would be illegal and marijuana would be legal. While a whopping 63,500 deaths attributed to drug overdose, cannabis had ZERO deaths from the drug itself.

However, what not many people consider is the economic value of legalizing hemp, the biggest one being paper. Hemp has been used for paper since the Western Han Dynasty, back in 200 BCE. Not to mention, our founding fathers even used hemp as an alternative to paper. Here’s a fun fact: the Declaration of Independence was actually written on hemp paper. Not to mention, marijuana usually isn’t cheap. Imagine if people were legally allowed to make sales legally of marijuana. Imagine if marijuana was legalized and bought as much as beer and wine. Our economy would be through the roof! Not to mention, paper companies, especially small ones, could use this legalization to their advantage in lifting their businesses off the ground, ensuring that they can buy hemp at a lower cost, processing needs would be lower, and they’d have very high quality paper. So, in a way, this could help small businesses out a lot.

Oh, and that state with all of that cool skiing? Colorado? Yeah, they’ve legalized marijuana. And during the FIRST HALF of 2017 ALONE, marijuana has earned $750,000,000 in total, earning the state an extra $116M in spending money, according to an analysis by the Cannabist, which you can read here.

That’s not just some loose pocket change, my friend.

However, many people forget this, and say that marijuana is bad for you, and that the federal government should keep it as is.

But let’s analyze this for a second. Why should the federal government tell us what we can and can’t put in our bodies? Someone hitting a blunt isn’t putting someone else’s life in danger, as we’ve seen from the CDC report. And if marijuana was really as bad as many say it is, why do hospitals have prescription rights for it? Why would this harmful drug have any place in the field of medicine? Even when it was banned, science backed up the strong fact that marijuana is not nearly as bad as some of the things that are legal in this country. Back in the 1930’s, the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) led by Harry Anslinger asked 30 of the country’s top scientists if marijuana was actually as bad as the businesses said it was. 29 out of the 30 said that it was not, however the FDN used that one scientist in order to manipulate their claims and say that it was “backed by science.” And this same science also concludes that marijuana can help fight off cancer cells, and help prevent HIV from turning into AIDS. 

Here we are, almost 100 years later. Here we are, looking back and seeing similarities. Similarities that show that marijuana is in fact not nearly as bad as the majority of conservatives say it is.

Let’s analyze THAT for a second.

Conservatives tend to lean against the legalization of marijuana. I’m one of the few conservatives as a matter of fact that is sitting here calling for legalization. But when you look at the values, shouldn’t conservatives be calling for legalization? Shouldn’t conservatives not want the federal government to be intervening with possible economic strides? Shouldn’t conservatives not want the federal government trying to dictate how we live our daily lives? I thought the whole idea of conservatism was the principle of having a smaller government, and keeping government out of economic affairs as much as possible. So why in the world should conservatives be calling for a plan that hurts our economy and keeps the government in our business?

Now, I’m not a smoker myself. I’m not saying that parents should start giving their kids weed as a stocking stuffer. However, next time you hear someone say that marijuana doesn’t have a place in America, refer them to this article. This article has pretty much debunked every case against marijuana with scientific facts, and in addition has provided scenarios beneficial to this country that would most likely occur if it was legalized.

Therefore, marijuana should be legalized. Now.

The Ideals of the Declaration of Independence

Ryan Andrew | United States

The Declaration of Independence (DOI) is quite possibly the most important and influential document in American history. The document, written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, has allowed The United States to survive and thrive for over 240 years. When writing the Declaration, Jefferson mentioned four ideals that have shaped all of The United States’ history. These ideals were Equality, Consent of the Governed, the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, and finally, the Right of the People to alter or abolish the Government.

All four of these ideals are extremely important to the foundation and survival of our country. However, the Right of the People to alter or abolish the Government is the most important one.

With the right to Alter or Abolish our government, anything can be achieved.

The Declaration of Independence: Equality

Furthermore, Jefferson mentions equality when he wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Equality is certainly something that sets The United States apart from other nations in the world. After all, some people in countries such as Iraq and Pakistan would kill for the level of equality the U.S. boasts. This ideal can easily be seen within our democratic election system that ensures that all American citizens, regardless of race, gender, or social status, are allowed to vote and have their voice heard in elections.

However, for a large portion of our nation’s history, this was not true. When Jefferson wrote the DOI, only white, property-owning males could vote. It was nearly two centuries after the signing of the Declaration that all people would be able to take part in The United States’ democratic system.  This was achieved by people deciding they didn’t like something within our government and then taking a stand to alter or change it. In 1870, the 15th Amendment passed, guaranteeing African-Americans the right to vote in all elections. Next came the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Both of these amendments are examples of how equality can be achieved when the public has the ability to alter the government when they deem fit.

Consent of the Governed

Additionally, another ideal the Declaration of Independence outlines is the consent of the governed. Jefferson outlines this ideal when he says, “…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”  This basically means that a good government should allow the people to have a say in what their government imposes on them and who is representing them. The men and women we elect serve at our command and we ultimately control their fate.

Moreover, one of the main reasons the colonies wanted independence from Britain was because King George III was placing taxes on the colonists without properly representing them in Parliament. In other words, he taxed them without their consent. In response to this, the colonists did many things to boycott and protest the British government in hope of an alteration taking place. Of course, it took the United States declaring independence from King George III to finally stop this. Despite this fact, the colonies trying to fight back against taxation without representation (or consent) is still a great example of how consent of the governed can be achieved by altering or in this case, abolishing (and replacing) the government.

Certain Unalienable Rights

The third ideal that the Declaration of Independence highlights is certain unalienable Rights, such as Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Jefferson mentions this when he says, “…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” To have unalienable rights is to have freedoms that cannot be taken away by the government and in this case, those freedoms are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

For this ideal, it is important to once again look back on the rights of African-Americans throughout history. For the first part of our nation’s history, most African Americans were slaves who did not have these unalienable Rights. In 1865, after years of conflict and violence during the Civil War, the 13th Amendment passed. This amendment was a result of the people fighting to alter the government to end slavery and involuntary servitude in The United States once and for all.

The Right to Alter or Abolish the Government

Finally, the most important ideal outlined in the Declaration of Independence is the right of the people to alter or abolish the government. Jefferson mentions this ideal when he says, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and to institute new Government…”

This means that when the government violates one of the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence, the people have the right to reform or abrogate the government. With this, equality, consent of the governed, and the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be achieved.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.