“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”— Thomas Jefferson
“How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”— Samuel Adams
The Declaration of Independence formally identifies the basis of the American form of government: the natural liberty of human beings, certain intrinsic “unalienable” rights, “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.”
In this most basic sense, to say that something is “unconstitutional” is to say that such act belongs to the sort of government we would “alter or abolish.” The root of such kind of despotic government is indicated by the phrase “consent of the governed” – a government that respects individual consent is the legitimate American kind of government; a government that does not is illegitimate and Un-american.
“MEN being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.”— John Locke
“The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.”— Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
“The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people. The streams of national power ought to flow from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.”— Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 22, December 14, 1787
“All men have one common original, they participate in one common nature, and consequently have one common right. No reason can be assigned why one man should exercise any power over his fellow creatures more than another, unless they voluntarily vest him with it.”— Alexander Hamilton
“To transmute greed into thrift, violence into argument, murder into litigation, and suicide into philosophy has been part of the task of civilization. It was a great advance when the strong consented to eat the weak by due process of law.”— Will Durant
Government officers, agents, and representatives swear an oath to not violate the Constitution – but individual citizens do not. Since individual citizens did not agree to be bound by the Constitution, they therefore have no obligations under it. Such is the nature of natural liberty – one can’t be bound to an unchosen obligation, except the obligation to respect the natural liberty of one’s fellow citizens. The latter is, of course, a natural obligation, not a civic duty, for if one violates another’s natural liberty, then one is therefore inviting natural justice, and such justice may indeed be administered and meted out by a formal government.
A word can be interpreted in unlimited ways, and the Constitution is but a series of words, all open to every kind of sophistical interpretation. The guiding light of an honest interpretation can only be a rightful interpretation, one that pays ultimate regard to the reality and truth of the matter, and at the very center of such matters as this is, again, individual consent – and not the sophistical kind that manufactures a counterfeit kind of consent, but the true simple honest kind where the individual actually really did agree of his own volition and not while under any kind of intimidation or duress.
That such true and honest consent is not actually sought by those who wish to saddle millions of citizens to unchosen duties and arbitrary restrictions is a testament to the level of outright wickedness to which our society has sunk over these past few hundred years. We had started with a system with at least a semblance of good faith to proper ideals (and yet clearly, the gross sin of slavery doomed a true sincerity at the outset), and we might have evolved and improved our systems to pay proper regard to the individual right of consent, but instead we have continuously doubled-down on and escalated the tyranny, resulting in countless individual tragedies and catastrophes that an abjectly amoral and ignorant population is blithely unaware to the root causes of, but which actually lie in something very simple: the systematic and ruthless violation of individual consent.
To the degree that we violate it, will be precisely the degree to which we have calamity of every kind, including one of the most insidious kinds: the silent murder of limitless human potential.