What is Federal, What is State

 On most heated issues, from gun rights to abortion to drugs, you inevitably hear someone raise the issue of federal vs state jurisdiction. Accordingly, I devote today’s article to answering the query: What is federal and what is state? After explaining the principles, I will specifically discuss the issue of infanticide (aka abortion) in this context. 

In all honestly, my work is already done. The Constitution generally, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments specifically, have already defined state and federal jurisdictions. I consult the Ninth and Tenth Amendments first. The Ninth dictates: 

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” 

And the Tenth Affirms: 

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” 

As the best university professor I ever had used to put it, these amendments mean, from the point of view of the Founders: “If we forgot anything, these cover it.” And so they do. 

In all honesty, could it be any clearer? These two amendments tell us that everything not explicitly enumerated, listed, and spelled out in the body of the Constitution as a federal matter, belongs properly and of right to the People and the states or local municipalities representing them. 

It is a simple concept. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, marveled that anyone could hold an interpretation that the federal government could assume any powers except those which were specifically listed. Said he: 

“[W]hen an instrument admits two constructions the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe & precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. our peculiar security is in the possession of a written constitution. let us not make it a blank paper by construction. I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty making power as boundless. if it is, then we have no constitution. if it has bounds, they can be no others than the definitions of the powers which that instrument gives. it specifies & delineates the operations permitted to the federal government, and gives all the powers necessary to carry these into execution. whatever of these enumerated objects is proper for a law, Congress may make the law. whatever is proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the President & Senate may enter into the treaty; whatever is to be done by a judicial sentence, the judges may pass the sentence. nothing is more likely than that their enumeration of powers is defective. this is the ordinary case of all human works. let us go on then perfecting it, by adding by way of amendment to the constitution, those powers which time & trial shew are still wanting” (Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, September 7, 1803). 

If our “construction” of one part of the Constitution would make null and void, or “blank,” the other portions, then it is to be disregarded. If anything other than what is explicitly or obviously and logically intended is admitted, it would mean “we have no constitution.” The point of our Constitution is to “specify” and “delineate” what the federal government is “permitted” to do and where its authority ends. 

In 1791, in his opinion on the utter unconstitutionality of Alexander Hamilton’s foreign-owned “national” bank scheme, Jefferson further explained how enumerated powers are supposed to work: 

“To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. 

“It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. 

“It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution. 

“The second general phrase is, “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.” But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.” 

The logic is unassailable. There is no point in even having a written Constitution if any branch of government can do whatever it wants. What is the point of a Constitution if it doesn’t mean what it says and if it doesn’t empower federal representatives of the People from carrying out the delegated powers? If the national government can assume powers at random and at will, or contrary to those gifted in the charter, why even have a Constitution at all? Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on Jefferson’s word alone; the Ninth and Tenth Amendments comport completely with Jefferson’s strict interpretation. 

The point of enumerated powers – the point of the Constitution – is to spell out in plain English what government can and cannot do. The Constitution was a tight circle drawn around government over which it could not justly, legally, and morally cross. The Bill of Rights was a set of “thou shalt nots” aimed at the government to prevent abuses, tyranny, and overreach. It was also designed to safeguard the rights that the People, through the states, had reserved exclusively to themselves and had not delegated to their elected representatives. 

The text of the Constitution is rather plain regarding what each branch of the federal government is allowed to do. Depending how you break up the clauses, Congress, for instance, has about 19 powers delegated to it. None of them says: “Congress may do whatever it wants” or “Congress may overstep its authority in a crisis” or “Congress may decide for itself what its powers are.” Instead, those powers are narrowly defined for them. They include the powers to declare war, tax for specific purposes, maintain a navy, and operate a postal service. Very pointedly, there are no delegated powers that involve charity, healthcare, redistribution of wealth, education, foreign aid, disease prevention, surveillance of the nation, etc. 

Furthermore, when congressmen take office, they raise their hands to God and swear with a solemn oath that they will not violate the Constitution, but will uphold and honor it. Why bother requiring such an oath if the Constitution is unspecific and vague or if elected representatives may do whatever they want anyway? The oath would be self-defeating and unenforceable if there were no enumerated powers and specific expectations, limits, and restrictions. 

“But what about the ‘general welfare’ clause?” some ask breathlessly. This was covered in Jefferson’s quote earlier. The clause simply means that the federal government may employ the power necessary to carry out its delegated duties. If the American People delegated and entrusted something to Congress, then Congress has the right to carry out or enforce that thing. It does not delegate extra, unknown, or vague powers and prerogatives to the government. It is certainly no mandate for the government to do as it pleases so long as it can be construed as being “for the welfare of the People” or “for the greater good.” Such is always the rationale of ravenous totalitarians. 

America was designed to be different. Unchecked power was done away with in 1776 and formally staked through the heart when the Constitution was ratified by the American People. On the ashes of rule of men, the People erected rule of law and self-government. Instituting limited governments defined and bound by written constitutions was to be the way forward. 

These constitutions were compacts of the People, issued by them with their consent, and carried out by elected representatives chosen by them and holding their offices and limited powers at their pleasure and will. As long as the Constitution remains, the totalitarians have no just claim on power in the United States of America. Yes, they may seize it or a sleepy population may surrender their birthright, but tyranny has no just, legal, or moral claim here. 

What, then, are states’ rights and which matters belong entirely to them? Frankly, it would be fruitless to attempt to list them all. Suffice it to say that everything that is not explicitly delegated to the federal government or logically a part of the nature of government in accordance with natural law is reserved formally and explicitly to the states or to local communities within them. It is that simple. 

This balance between federal and state jurisdictions is called federalism. The National Center for Constitutional Studies has explained federalism like this: 

“Widely regarded as one of America’s most valuable contributions to political science, federalism is the constitutional division of powers between the national and state governments. James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” explained it this way: “The powers delegated.to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.” And Thomas Jefferson emphasized that the states are not “subordinate” to the national government, but rather the two are “coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government.” Since governments tend to overstep the bounds of their authority, the founders knew it would be difficult to maintain a balanced federalism. In fact, that was one of the central issues raised by the state ratifying conventions as they met to decide whether to approve the new Constitution. Responding to this concern, Alexander Hamilton expressed his hope that “the people will always take care to preserve the constitutional equilibrium between the general and the state governments.” He believed that “this balance between the national and state governments forms a double security to the people. If one [government] encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by [the] certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them.” However, the opponents of the Constitution strongly feared that the states would eventually become subservient to the central government. Madison acknowledged that this danger existed, but he predicted that the states would band together to combat it. “Plans of resistance would be concerted,” he said. “One spirit would animate and conduct the whole. The same combinations would result from an apprehension of federal [domination] as was produced by the dread of a foreign yoke; and the same appeal to a trial of force would be made in the one case as was made in the other.”” 

This outwardly complicated, overlapping system confuses foreigners who are not used to it and who have never been properly educated in federalism or constitutionalism. It even confuses many Americans who have been “educated” in the Marxist public school system. Yet, the idea is simply that the general government is limited to specifically delegated and listed powers, held temporarily at the discretion of the People, and that the People retain the rest of their rights and powers over which the federal government has no say. 

In The Federalist No. 51, James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” explained the paramount reason why federalism should be adopted: 

“In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself. Second. It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.” 

Notice that the states were supposed to rein in the federal government, as demonstrated by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, but, also, the federal Constitution was supposed to check state power when it became abusive. Both had legitimate authority over the other when it came to injustice.  

I illustrate one failure of Madison’s idea of federalism that is a black mark on American history – one that applies to our present discussion. On October 27, 1838, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri signed the infamous “Extermination Order” against members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The order stated: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and exterminated or driven from the State if necessary.” Militias, acting on the governor’s authority, subsequently drove the Latter-day Saints from their property and homes in the dead of winter and murdered several of the fleeing group. 

I ask you, was this correct, constitutional, or moral? No! It was a hellish atrocity. It was attempted genocide not only in actual fact, but in name. Yet, when Joseph Smith, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with President Martin Van Buren in Washington to appeal for the federal government’s help, Van Buren said there was nothing he could do and that he would come into confrontation with the state of Missouri if he got involved. Incredibly, the Senate judiciary committee likewise declined to act, stating that Congress and the federal government had no authority in the matter because of so-called states’ rights and recommended Joseph Smith appeal to the courts in Missouri – the same state which had just signed an order for his and his followers’ extermination! 

Do you agree with Van Buren’s and the Senate’s take on the Constitution? Let’s put it in modern terms and see what you think. If California issued an expulsion and extermination order against Muslims, claiming they were a threat to its security, would that be constitutional? No! It would not only be a violation of due process, but of every principle of justice upon which America was founded. It would be an affront to the notion of “pursuit of happiness,” property, and so forth. Yet, this is what happened in Missouri in 1838 and which was permitted by Van Buren’s regime because they believed in a false notion of states’ rights that minimized the Constitution and spat upon the natural law as expounded in the Declaration of Independence

Because of this massive affront to the Constitution, which declares itself “the supreme Law of the Land,” Joseph Smith and his followers demanded the protections guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Many had become perverted in their view and believed that the Bill of Rights somehow did not apply to the states. Earlier, I described the Bill of Rights as a list of “thou shalt nots” aimed at government. That applies to all levels of government – not just to the federal government. 

How idiotic would it be if we restrained the federal government from restricting free speech or taking guns or arresting us without a warrant, but then allowed states to do precisely that! What point would the Constitution serve if states could simply override it? And what does the phrase the “supreme Law of the Land” mean if it is not to be understood literally or if the Constitution has no jurisdiction in the states? 

It was only after the Civil War that the Bill of Rights was fully applied to the states and that state governments were prevented from abusing their citizens. Had the true spirit of the Constitution and of Freedom resided in Van Buren’s heart, he would have promptly ordered federal troops into Missouri to stop the heinous expulsion and extermination. That would have been his duty under the Constitution.  

This understanding of rights and constitutional protections is crucial. If we discard it, we discard everything. Without this fundamental understanding, we could have no federalism, no Constitution, and no security for our God-given rights. 

The Preamble to the Constitution states the purpose of all those enumerated powers and of federalism itself: 

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” 

The Constitution is designed to secure Liberty and natural rights, not deprive people of them. Which people? All people. These natural rights include, but are not limited to, those noted conspicuously in the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we acknowledge what seems obviously, that the Constitution and Bill of Rights protect these natural rights and prevent all government from interfering with them, one more criterion needs to be discussed – implied powers. 

The term “implied powers” is frequently appealed to by those who wish to empower government, expand bureaucracy, and trample rights. It is used to imply exactly what Jefferson rejected – the notion that government can do as it pleases for the so-called “general welfare.” There is only one type of “implied” anything that is relevant, and it really isn’t implied so much as its connection to the Constitution is misunderstood or ignored. I speak of duties and rights so logical, basic, and self-evident that they didn’t need to be explicitly recorded; that is, the right of life, Liberty, and property. 

For decades, the Declaration of Independence held legal weight in the courts. This is indisputable. It was and is the nation’s first law. It is the first of the so-called four “organic laws” of the United States. Though some courts today discount the Declaration as a legal document, it was once used widely by the courts and is still sometimes referred to today in court opinions. It was the foundation that the American nation was built upon and it cannot be rejected lest the entire structure collapse. 

I want to hammer this point home. The first line of the Declaration states that it is the voice of the American People and assumes the same prerogatives and rights of a nation. The Declaration of Independence was also voted on and unanimously approved by the first government of the United States; that is, by the duly chosen delegates of the respective thirteen states sent to the Continental Congress. It was then ratified by the voice and subsequent actions of the People. It became binding by default and everyone acknowledged the validity of the right to life, Liberty, and property.  

Professor John Eidsmoe once wrote

“The role of the Declaration of Independence in American law is often misconstrued. Some believe the Declaration is simply a statement of ideas that has no legal force whatsoever today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America. “The United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence under the heading “The Organic Laws of the United States of America” along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. Enabling acts frequently require states to adhere to the principles of the Declaration; in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution ‘shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.’” 

The Declaration clearly stated that life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, among others, were natural rights given by the Creator and superseded man-made government. These rights were declared to be “self-evident,” or, to quote Jefferson’s rough draft, “sacred and undeniable.” Furthermore, similar to the Preamble to the Constitution, the Declaration states that the entire purpose of government is to protect these natural rights and that no government that interferes with them is legitimate: 

“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 of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” 

Isn’t this clear language? Can’t we justly assume that the U.S. government, as well as the state governments, were created pursuant to this Declaration and were intended to secure, among other God-given rights, life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? It would be insane not to make this connection and to deny the fact that our forefathers – including those in government and the court system – formerly believed as much. 

The Founding Fathers did not suddenly discover rights in 1776 – they existed from time immemorial and preceded either the British empire, the colonies, of the United States. Samuel Adams proclaimed the following in 1772: 

“Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.” 

The Declaration of Independence was revolutionary, but not entirely new. American patriots acknowledged and cherished these same rights for generations before they were codified. Devotion to life, Liberty, property, and self-defense predate our War for Independence.

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The Declaration of Independence was, in a sense, the prologue to the Constitution. Without it, no one can have a complete understanding of the Constitution and the latter would have little moral force and no higher focus and purpose. This was the correct contention of Larry P. Arnn in his book The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It

In that worthy text, Arnn explained the revolutionary nature of the Declaration, its fundamental basis, and why its principles are indispensable to any competent understanding of constitutional law and government purpose: 

“The Declaration of Independence does not read like a document from this world of kings. It hardly reads like a document from any particular world at all. 

“The first words of the Declaration are, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people . . .” This does not mean now, in North America in 1776, where killing has broken out between a long-settled government and the people. It does not mean the room in Philadelphia where the signers are gathered. The Declaration does not refer to any particular place. It does not mean those particular signers, either. It does not mean the people who elected those signers. The Declaration does not begin with any reference to those who write and ratify it, or to the nation they are forming. . . . 

“But what about this beginning, which is so abstract? The beginning treats these events not as something special or unique but as something that occurs “in the Course of human events.” Soldiers who do brace acts are often shy about discussing them: “Anyone would have done the same.” “I was very frightened, and I acted by instinct” . . . This modesty of the opening of the Declaration is rather like that. Its signers are at the crisis of their lives, and they begin by placing it in context. . . . 

“Having established that the situation is not without precedent, the Declaration turns to the standard according to which one must act in such situations. That standard is the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Established in these laws is the principle of equality, first for people, who are entitled to a separate and equal station under these “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Also, each individual person is similarly entitled. This is established by a “self-evident” truth, that is, a truth whose proof is contained in the terms of the truth itself. If you know what a man is, you know that he is created equal. According to this self-evident truth, all men are “created equal,” and “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” among which are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The purpose of government is to secure these rights.” This is the only reason stated why government is “instituted among Men.” In all cases, government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed.” 

“These principles are not mere abstractions. They are introduced into a concrete situation, a situation established in a long history that includes the elevation and fall of Sir Thomas More and of the Duke of Marlborough, the high station of George III and his ancestors, the titles and privileges and courtesies of the court. These “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” are therefore necessary to the situation. It is obvious that the Revolutionaries cannot appeal to the laws of Great Britain; the purpose of the document is to throw off those laws. It is obvious that they cannot appeal to their own opinions or wishes, unless they are megalomaniacs. Only of God can it be said that His will constituted a rule to all peoples, in all places, and at all times must obey. The Founders needed a law as universal as  circumstances the law is supposed to cover. They needed a law applicable in all nature. . . . 

“If particular things have a nature, and if things in general have a nature, one can see how one might think that there are rules in nature. The rules would be the combination of the particular nature of each thing and the grand way that things work. These are the rules suggested by the expression the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” . . . . 

“The essential similarity among humans may be harder to see when they are standing together, their differences manifest. It is easier to see when they are compared to something else. Such a comparison is right there in the Declaration of Independence, and we have already mentioned it. God is named four times in the Declaration. We can consider another human being both excellent and powerful, but we are not likely to think him the Creator, divine Providence, or the Supreme Judge of the World. . . . 

“The distinction between man and God, on the one hand, and man and beast, on the other, underlies our political arrangements and has often emerged as the explicit basis of our policy. . . . 

“The necessity of government by consent is written, therefore, in the fact of human equality. That is also the basis for limited government. The very reason we have constitutional rule has to do with the fact that we are neither angels nor beasts, but in between the two” (Arnn, The Founders’ Key, 43-58). 

The Declaration of Independence is the foundational document of the American nation. It is our first law. It set forth the thesis of Americanism. It laid down the principles which every future generation should live by and could invoke in its own situation. It declared that rights exist, that they come from God, that they are immutable, that they supersede all government, and that any government that violates those rights is illegitimate and may be – and should be – overthrown.  

The Declaration talked about the equality of men. Equality, in a Marxist sense, is utter nonsense. We are equal in God’s eyes and in the eyes of just laws, but in no other way. Equality is not sameness. Men and women are different. Races have different traits. Individuals are stronger, faster, bigger, smaller, skinnier, better, worse, richer, more industrious, more honorable, more charitable, wiser, less intelligent, more talented, more capable, etc., than each other. 

However, God created all of us. At birth, we each receive an inheritance of Liberty and free will which no government can rightly, justly, morally strip us of. These are natural rights – rights which no government has authority over. The purpose of government is to safeguard natural rights. Period. 

This is the fundamental understanding that our Founding Fathers had. This is the context in which they wrote the U.S. Constitution and formed our great nation. They spelled out that if government ever overstepped these “self-evident” bounds, the People had not only a right, but a solemn duty, to abolish or change that government.  

I now want to apply what we have learned today to the abortion debate. The Supreme Court is gearing up to potentially release an opinion that would not exactly overturn Roe v. Wade, but which would allow the states to decide for themselves. I think this is repugnant to the spirit and meaning of both the Declaration and the Constitution. 

First in the list of rights declared to be self-evident, and which government is duty bound to protect, is life. Some among us repeat “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” without really thinking about it. If we believe these are rights, then how can we permit abortion? If life is a right, how can government, which is created for the purpose of securing our rights, deny that right to millions? 

There is little difference between the atrocious institution of slavery and the infanticide of tens of millions of unborn men and women (in fact, more blacks have been destroyed through abortion than slavery in this country). Both deprive the individual of “life” in any meaningful sense. Without Liberty, life is meaningless. Without Liberty, there is no ability to pursue happiness. Before you can have Liberty or pursue happiness, however, you must have life. Without life, you have neither Liberty or happiness. 

Those who support the life-destroying scourge of abortion are enemies to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and America. This is not just another “political issue”; it is a defining principle dealing with the fundamental, natural, God-given rights of individuals. This is a right and a wrong as much as there is a right and a wrong about slavery, genocide, free speech, or the right of self-defense. 

The U.S. government was created to defend natural rights, including the right to life. This is not the job of the states, though the states should be a secondary defense if the federal government neglects its duty. This is a federal, or national, issue. The federal Constitution, not the individual state constitutions, is the supreme law of the land. If the federal government has no jurisdiction to defend life in the states, then, in all honesty, please tell me why we even have national government and a constitution. 

The Declaration of Independence, which declared our right to life, was written by the representatives of the whole People. It is as good as gospel law for Americans. Remember what the Founding Fathers said in the Declaration, that if ANY government falls short of its mandate to secure the rights of life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to its people, it is despotic and must be altered or abolished. 

The feminists, liberals, and socialists who pretend to care about “equality” and Freedom are lying hypocrites if they reject an innocent human being’s right to live – the most fundamental of all rights and a necessary step in the equality process. If we are all equal, if no group is supposed to have greater privileges than another, and if the natural rights proclaimed in the Declaration and Bill of Rights supersede governmental authority and cannot be violated by individuals, state governments, or the federal government, then how can anyone rationalize abortion? 

What say does the unborn child have in his own life or over his own body? I though the mantra was “my body, my choice.” What say does the child have in the matter of his right to life? In complete seriousness, has anyone asked the little human being if he or she wants their body torn apart and their brains vacuumed out by a heartless medical butcher with the consent of his unfeeling mother? Were that same child to be born, sometimes mere minutes later, he would have an explicit, legal, and constitutional right to life, yet being inside the womb somehow allows his life to be snuffed out. 

No one has a right to summarily end another human being’s life. A person may forfeit their right to life by taking the life of another person or committing treason or some heinous crime that violates the rights of another person, but, barring these exceptions, the right to life is to be held sacrosanct. This brings up the argument of when life beings. Yet, it’s not a serious argument at all. The science is settled. The science is irrefutable. The biology is clear, settled, firm, and unshakable. 

Science has conclusively shot to high hell the Satanic notion that babies are mere “clump of cells” with no cognizance or that life begins at any other time than at conception. Scientifically, religiously, logically, mortal life begins only at conception and at no time after that. It doesn’t begin at 6 weeks, or 15 weeks, or 30 weeks. It doesn’t begin when the body comes out of the womb. It begins at conception and no serious scientist refutes this. If we admit that life begins at conception, it follows that life must also be protected from conception. 

I repeat that the right to life is a right guaranteed by the Declaration and the Constitution. The Declaration explicitly champions the right to life and the Preamble to the Constitution explicitly states that its purpose is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” If babies do not have a right to life, then we older human beings don’t either. It either applies equally to everyone or it’s not a right. 

Roe v. Wade is a bastardization of law, Liberty, and logic, to say nothing of conscience and morality. It is a demonic violation of the most fundamental of all God-given rights guaranteed by our founding documents. The judges usurped power, concocted a “right” out of whole cloth, and stripped young human beings of their implicit right to life.  

The executive branch, Congress, and the states had in 1973, and have today, not only a right, but a duty, to reject Roe v. Wade and to champion the right to life. Today, the president could take a leaf out of President Andrew Jackson’s book and overrule Roe, declaring it his sworn duty to protect life. This moment, Congress could announce that Roe is null and void, rightly saying that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds. Right now, any state in America could throw out abortion and defend life, invoking the natural rights of life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

In America, we don’t take out principles from the courts, we take them from the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and they took them from natural law and the Bible. In America, polls and popularity don’t decide policy, law, or rights. It doesn’t matter how many feminists screech and howl or how many Antifa thugs march through the streets, the right to life is sacred and has been codified by U.S. law since 1776. 

Defending Freedom is not a states’ rights issue; it is a human issue. Specifically, the right to life is one of the big-picture problems that the nation as a whole must face and must collectively solve. Life is a federal/national issue that the states do not have exclusive purview over, but one in which they may ratify, support, and confirm the People’s national representatives in safeguarding. 

In all seriousness, dear reader, if the Constitution does not encompass the right to life, being one of the most fundamental rights, then what is its purpose? The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and I submit to every rational mind that it authorizes its agents – those who raise their arm and swear to uphold it – to defend, protect, and preserve life. Abortion is a blatant violation of eternal law, natural law, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and science. It is human sacrifice. It is evil and must be stamped out. 

If the Supreme Court refuses to undo Roe v. Wade, eternal shame on them – and eternal shame on all government representatives and citizens at all levels who are too cowardly to stand up for the right to life. If the high court attempts to make it a state issue, they have abdicated their duty to uphold the Constitution and show their own cowardice. At least, if protecting life becomes a state issue, half of the nation will rise to the challenge and create pockets of life and Liberty. Sadly, however, the plague will not end, divine judgements will not be averted, and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution will slide further down the totem of importance. 

As with life, so with any issue – government is designed to secure Liberty equally to all. When big issues are involved that impact humanity generally, the federal government has jurisdiction, such as in times of war or ensuring republican forms of governments to citizens in every states. These issues are usually explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. When something is not specifically stated therein, and if it is also not stated in the Declaration or in the “self-evident” precepts of natural law, the authority rests with the People acting in their individual states to decide.

Life is a fundamental human issue and is not a state issue. However, if the federal regime and its hijacked courts refuse to use their delegated power to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” then the People, acting either through the states or by themselves in their sovereign capacity, have the right and duty to alter or abolish their government and provide new forms and guards to secure their God-given natural rights. May we finally enforce the Declaration and truly champion life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Zack Strong, 
June 21, 2022

Say Their Names – Independence Day Edition

 Last year, a nation-wide campaign called “Say Their Names” was started to supposedly “honor Black lives taken by systemic racism and racial injustice.” Far from being a memorial to healing and unity, this is a Marxist effort to divide America, pour salt into old wounds, and demonize political opposition to communism. The fact that George Floyd, a career criminal and violent offender who overdosed on a lethal dose of fentanyl and meth in police custody while resisting arrest, is one of the names we’re supposed to “say,” is evidence of how insincere and preposterous the entire charade really is. 

This Independence Day, I wanted to put a twist on “Say Their Names.” Why don’t we say the names of people who risked their lives to create a free nation where all people could enjoy peace and prosperity? Instead of saying the names of people whose deaths are used as political chess pieces in a war against the foundational institutions of our Republic, why not say the name of those valiant men who put their necks on the line to build those same institutions – institutions which make America great? 

I present a more common-sense version of “Say Their Names.” This Independence Day, say the names of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. You likely haven’t heard their names in a very long while. Their names deserve to be spoken aloud. They deserve to be remembered, memorialized, and honored by all people who cherish Freedom. Gather your family together today and read or listen to the words these noble figures signed their names to. And then read their names, offering a silent prayer of thanksgiving to them for their sacrifices and to the God who inspired and assisted them to create the amazing nation we call home. 

You can read more information about these fifty-six men hereherehere, and here

John Adams of Massachusetts 

Samuel Adams of Massachusetts 

Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire 

Carter Braxton of Virginia 

Charles Carroll of Maryland 

Samuel Chase of Maryland 

Abraham Clark of New Jersey 

George Clymer of Pennsylvania 

William Ellery of Rhode Island 

Wiilliam Floyd of New York 

Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania 

Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts 

Button Gwinnett of Georgia 

Lyman Hall of Georgia 

John Hancock of Massachusetts 

Benjamin Harrison of Virginia 

John Hart of New Jersey 

Joseph Hewes of North Carolina 

Thomas Heyward, Jr., of South Carolina 

William Hooper of North Carolina 

Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island 

Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey 

Samuel Huntington of Connecticut 

Thomas Jefferson of Virginia 

Francis Lightfoot Lee of Virginia 

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia 

Francis Lewis of New York 

Philip Livingston of New York 

Thomas Lynch, Jr., of South Carolina 

Thomas McKean of Delaware 

Arthur Middleton of South Carolina 

Lewis Morris of New York 

Robert Morris of Pennsylvania 

John Morton of Pennsylvania 

Thomas Nelson, Jr., of Virginia 

William Paca of Maryland 

Robert Treat Paine of Maryland 

John Penn of North Carolina 

George Read of Delaware 

Caesar Rodney of Delaware 

George Ross of Pennsylvania 

Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania 

Edward Rutledge of South Carolina 

Roger Sherman of Connecticut 

James Smith of Pennsylvania 

Richard Stockton of New Jersey 

Thomas Stone of Maryland 

George Taylor of Pennsylvania 

Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire 

George Walton of Georgia 

William Whipple of New Hampshire 

William Williams of Connecticut 

James Wilson of Pennsylvania 

John Witherspoon of New Jersey 

Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut 

George Wythe of Virginia 

Say Their Names and have a gorgeous Independence Day! 

Zack Strong, 

July 4, 2021  

Principles of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is America’s first formal law. It is a binding legal document. It is an official pronouncement by the first leaders of our Republic. Not only did the Declaration announce America’s Independence to the world and list our forefathers’ grievances against the British monarchists, but it set forth the basic principles that our confederated Republic is founded upon. It is incumbent upon Americans who value their Freedom, as well as their history, to study this remarkable document. Consider this article a lesson in some of the essential principles of the Declaration.

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We will discuss two principles of paramount significance: 1) The truth that our rights come from God; and 2) the reality that political power springs from the People and exists for the purpose of securing their God-given rights.

Perhaps the most prominent principle of the Declaration of Independence is its affirmation that an individual’s rights come from God and cannot justly be taken from him or curtailed. In its first paragraph, the Declaration refers to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” It elaborates in these terms:

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.”

Nature’s God, the Creator of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the source of our “unalienable Rights.” They do not come from man. They do not come from a collective consensus. And they do not come from government. They are not invented by legislative bodies, granted at the pleasure of a president or king, or voted upon. Our rights come from God alone. Alexander Hamilton put it this way:

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power” (Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February, 1775).

In 1772, Samuel Adams, often referred to as the Father of the Revolution, wrote a document titled “The Rights of the Colonists in which he expounded the very principles we are discussing today:

Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. . . .

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule. . . .

In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”

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Each individual, upon birth, inherits his or her Liberty. Freedom is our birthright! It is the gift of Almighty God. It is an innate endowment and an essential factor in our life’s mission here on earth. This Freedom cannot be justly taken away or limited unless one has forfeited it through their infringement of the equal rights of others. The masterful Thomas Jefferson explained:

[R]ightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual” (Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Tiffany, April 4, 1819).

Only our own misuse of our Liberty can allow it to be taken from us by just laws rightly administered. Unless we violate the “equal rights of others,” the law has no hold on us. Any law that violates our individual rights is, by definition, tyrannical.

Our rights – life, Liberty, the ownership and control of private property, self-defense, privacy, due process, habeas corpus, free speech, discrimination/association, and so forth – come from God Almighty. They are, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, “sacred and undeniable.” Please always remember that your rights are God-given, that they are sacred, and that no just government can deny you your exercise of them.

The second great principle we can glean from the Declaration is that all political power rests in individuals. This power is granted by the People (that is, individuals working together voluntarily) for the specific purpose of protecting their rights. The People has no right nor authority unless an individual has the same right and authority. Working in concert does not suddenly increase authority or negate justice. For instance, if an individual cannot take money from his neighbor and give it to another person, then neither can the group take money (e.g. taxes) from members of the population and give it to others (e.g. welfare, federal education aid, foreign aid). The American People has just as much political power as the weakest individual in society has and no more.

After explaining that our precious rights come from God, the Declaration explains that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” What’s more, the Declaration makes it clear that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e. defending individual rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

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The purpose of government is to secure our life, Liberty, and property. Frederic Bastiat, writing in his classic text The Law, explained man’s essential rights, the purpose of law and government, and how collective rights are derived only from individual rights:

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life. . . .

Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups. . . .

If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.”

When a government exceeds its authority and ceases to fulfill its enumerated purposes, it is not only the right of the People “to alter or to abolish it,” it is a duty. Again, the Declaration informs us:

[M]ankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 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.”

It is our duty, my fellow freeman, to throw off the shackles of tyranny when evil men slap them on our wrists. And make no mistake – a pattern of tyranny, such as we’ve seen in the United States for decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations, is a clear sign that there is a “design” to “reduce [us] under absolute Despotism.” That is to say, when we see a “long train of abuses,” we know for a surety that they are not mere mistakes or miscalculations, but that there is a conspiracy at work to enslave us.

Two years before he wrote the Declaration, the Sage of Monticello penned a lesser-known document entitled “A Summary View of the Rights of British America.” In it, he succinctly explained:

Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.”

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We see so many examples of concerted attacks on our Liberty that only one totally uninformed or maliciously complicit can deny them. Republicans and Democrats alike are angling to destroy the Second Amendment’s guarantee of our right of self-defense, violate what little privacy and due process we have left, micromanage what we can and cannot say and publish, steal the remaining wealth they haven’t already stolen, and spill American blood in unconstitutional foreign wars in which we have little to no legitimate interest. When we see this “long train of abuses,” it is our sacred duty to overturn the corrupt laws, oust the oath-breakers, and “provide new Guards” who will honor their oaths to uphold the Constitution and secure our God-given rights.

Never tolerate the violation of your rights by harboring the misguided idea that we owe blind obedience to government at all times and in all things. We do not. We owe obedience only to God, the Constitution as properly interpreted, and just laws that are made in pursuance of the Constitution. Our obedience to these, George Washington said, is “sacredly obligatory upon alland is “the duty of every individual.” However, arbitrary and despotic government merits no allegiance. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Rather, we have a right and a duty to alter or abolish such tyranny and to support a government that secures our rights.

I turn again to the first great principle of the Declaration of Independence; namely, that our rights come from God. It is only by obedience to His divine laws, and through faith on the name of Jesus Christ, that a People can escape the destruction of their Liberty. While we must step forward to safeguard our Freedom, rescue the Constitution, and resist tyranny and conspiratorial machinations, the ultimate remedy for our ailing society is repentance. We must repent, turn our hearts to Christ, and become a righteous and virtuous People once more.

The Holy Bible makes these timeless promises to peoples which serve the Lord:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord(Pslam 33:12).

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. . . .

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. . . .

And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city” (Isaiah 1:16, 18, 26).

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We must turn to God like our forefathers did. Those extraordinary patriots did not recklessly stumble into the War for Independence. They humbly bowed themselves before their Creator, petitioning Him for strength, and then went to work, having faith that their Lord would be with them and would preserve them in their just struggle. In his memorable speech, Patrick Henry proclaimed:

[W]e are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. . . .

. . . I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Surely, the Lord was with our ancestors in their bid for Independence. He presided over their conflict and gave them the victory. God is the true Founding Father of America. At the height of the fighting, General Washington was awed by God’s intervention on America’s behalf and stated:

The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations” (George Washington to Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778).

The Declaration of Independence concludes with a similar statement of faith to Washington’s and Henry’s. Patriots everywhere know and cherish these iconic words:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

If we love our Liberty, then we will follow our patriot-fathers’ example. We will repent, turn to Christ, and walk uprightly. We will honor God’s laws and the principles of the Constitution. We will zealously guard our rights and ensure that our representatives honor their oaths of office and are punished when they do not. If we are freemen, we must act like freemen.

The time is at hand when neutrality is no longer an option. You must choose a side. Stand with your countrymen who are doing their utmost to defend our Faith, Families, and Freedom. Stand with constitutionalists trying to preserve the supreme law of the land and our distinct Americanist system. And fight the good fight at all times, in all ways, and in all places. I close with words from the Father of our Country. Let them echo in your ears and in your hearts from this day forward. God help us restore our Republic!

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die” (George Washington, address to the Continental Army before the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776).

Zack Strong,

January 20, 2020

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