Opinion: Constitutional Liberty and Arbitrary Power in the 21st Century

"The True-born Sons of Liberty, are desired to meet under LIBERTY, at XII o"Clock."
Posted on November 06, 2016, 7:01 pm
9 mins

Dr. Joseph Warren, a member of the Sons of Liberty, is the gentleman in U.S. History who dispatched Paul Revere to warn Samuel Adams of Mr. Adam’s imminent arrest by British troops. A History Channel special characterized the Sons of Liberty as “foot soldiers of the Revolution”, “the spirit of the Revolution”, and described the group as creating “ a chain of liberty throughout the colonies”, maintaining a membership which “cut across class lines”, and, referenced their temperament as tending to be “very vocal.”

Dr. Warren’s imprint is as embedded in the U.S. Constitution, as Samuel Adams (a close confidant, and strategic partner to Dr. Warren) or Benjamin Franklin.  Owing to Dr. Warren’s oratory and literary skills, his best thoughts on man’s Divine right to liberty, government’s duty and obligations to its citizenry, and a citizenry’s entitlement to remedy before government, flows throughout his writings and speeches.

The framers of the constitution often utilized political philosophy in arguing opinion against oppressive British rule, and taxation. The reflections of political philosophers including Aristotle, Plato and John Locke were building blocks to men like Dr. Warren, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Edes, or John Hancock.

In a speech delivered in Boston on March 5, 1772, Dr. Warren said, “an institution which hath its origin in the weakness of individuals, and hath for its end the strength and security of all; and so long as the means of effecting this important end are thoroughly known and religiously attended to government is one of the richest blessings to mankind, and ought to be held in the highest veneration.”

Simplified, he argued that the need for government is due to human nature itself – man typically does not possess the strength to self-govern in such a fashion as to not abuse, or infringe upon the rights of others. Given this weakness within mankind, a government which serves its highest purpose will maintain a singular goal to empower and protect all its citizens; and, as long as laws are clearly defined for, and accepted by, the citizenry (by way of an agreed constitution or set of laws)… as long as remedy of grievances is available to citizenry, the contract between a government and its people should be respected and protected.

He wrote “every member feels it to be his interest, and knows it to be his duty to preserve inviolate the constitution on which the public safety depends.”

The Sons of Liberty were not agitators. These were men who attempted to work within a system of British government to achieve their aims. Ben Franklin described war as “And what are we to gain by this war, by which our trade and manufacturers are to be ruined, our strength divided and diminished, our debt increased, and our reputation, as a generous nation, and lovers of liberty, given up and lost? Why, we are to convert millions of the King’s loyal subjects into rebels for the sake of establishing a new claimed power … “ (emphasis ours.)

These men struggled to balance fears of retribution, torture, increased taxation, loss of life (theirs and others) against their wedded goal to self-determination for colonies, which they later fought to establish as a country.

One website described Dr. Warren’s insufficient notoriety as his “having been cheated of greater frame by an early death in the opening round of the War of Independence.”

In other words, Dr. Warren argued political thought on behalf of colonists before the British government, he dispatched Paul Revere (providing advance notice of British troop movement), made decision to wage war, and then died on the battlefield for his cause of liberty.

It’s doubtful that Mr. Donald Trump would know of Dr. Joseph Warren. It is also likely Mr. Kahn had been correct in assuming Mr. Trump had not bothered to read the Constitution at all. If Mr. Trump had made any attempt to understand the struggle of the United States to define and defend democracy, he would have cautiously read the warnings of John Hancock,

“I have always, from my earliest youth, rejoiced in the felicity of my fellowmen; and have ever considered it as the indispensable duty of every member of society to promote, as far as in him lies, the prosperity of every individual, but more especially of the community to which he belongs: and also as a faithful subject of the State, to use his utmost endeavors to detect, and having detected, strenuously to oppose every traitorous plot which its enemies may devise for its destruction.”

Having settled into a belief that Hillary Clinton will lawfully assume the position of Presidency, and ever hopeful she hears the bell of hope for democracy ring her name on November 8, 2016 (with the rest of us alive to tell the tale on the 9th), we call her attention to Dr. Warren’s belief that government functions best when it is religiously attended to. Fundraising seems to have tended to take everyone’s mind off the business of how democracy grows, and how the function of government either propels or impedes that growth.

And, Americans are asking important questions about how our government is running: Americans are asking for assurances that remedy before government be protected, and enforced for all; Americans would like to understand the government’s clearest thinking on our true enemies about the world, whether these perceived threats be financial partners or not; Americans deserve to know which government, if any, has attempted to interfere with U.S. elections; we deserve right to trials and transcripts if  these events have occurred; and, Americans would like to know our Federal agencies are devoid of partisanship, and if not, we would like to know those changes will be made as quickly as possible, in whatever fashion or form the law demands.

Americans would like to understand President Clinton’s strategy in concern to the placement for the Supreme Court, so that we might support her decisions: To tie Americans individuals or business to dramatic dogfights by way the evening news, is an inefficient use of all our time, when she is the only one tasked with equal concern to decisions of economy, legislation, diplomacy, and policy.

Americans have earned, after our last forty-years of government mismanagement, a right to transparency concerning public record, and this would include records relevant to her use of email and communication systems.

Arbitrary use of law weakens its strength: if the United States has, or intends to pursue prosecution concerning leaked government information, a President Hillary Clinton cannot be excluded. The United State’s government either utilizes the weight of the laws it does maintain, or it re-drafts laws more reflective of a current understanding of American history, its democracy, and the confusion surrounding a clear judicial consensus.

We trust most rational thinking Americans hold no such hope for Mr. Trump’s ability to self-monitor himself concerning violation to past, present or future law.

Editors, writers and members of the Fraternal Order of the Leather Apron Club.

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