Sunday, March 24, 2013

Patrick Henry's Prescient Speech Foretold Today's Affairs

Yesterday was the anniversary of Patrick Henry’s famous Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech.  Many are probably not aware that this man was a fierce Anti-Federalist.  Men like Patrick Henry were prescient in their analysis of our U.S. Constitution.  We are witnessing in real time, the warnings of a man who knew government and human nature.  Here are a few excerpts from a speech he made on June, 7 1788:

 ...I have said that I thought this a Consolidated Government: I will now prove it. Will the great rights of the people be secured by this Government? Suppose it should prove oppressive, how can it be altered? Our Bill of Rights declares, "That a majority of the community hath an undubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal." I have just proved that one tenth, or less, of the people of America, a most despicable minority may prevent this reform or alteration. Suppose the people of Virginia should wish to alter their Government; can a majority of them do it? No, because they are connected with other men; or, in other words, consolidated with other States: When the people of Virginia at a future day shall wish to alter their Government, though they should be unanimous in this desire, yet they may be prevented therefrom by a despicable minority at the extremity of the United States: The founders of your own Constitution made your Government changeable: But the power of changing it is gone from you! Whither is it gone? It is placed in the same hands that hold the rights of twelve other States; and those who hold those rights have right and power to keep them: It is not the particular Government of Virginia: One of the leading features of that Government is, that a majority can alter it, when necessary for the public good. This Government is not a Virginian but an American government.

 Isn’t that the truth?  Polling data consistently places 20 to 30% of the population having a favorable opinion on our current state of affairs.  And there is nothing that can be done to alter our situation.  Who are these people, you ask.  Why they’re the teat squawkers.  Here is what Patrick Henry had to say about them:

But what does this Constitution say? The clause under consideration gives an unlimited and unbounded power of taxation: Suppose every delegate from Virginia opposes a law laying a tax, what will it avail? They are opposed by a majority: Eleven members can destroy their efforts: Those feeble ten cannot prevent the passing the most oppressive tax law. So that in direct opposition to the spirit and express language of your Declaration of Rights, you are taxed not by your own consent, but by people who have no connection with you. The next clause of the Bill of Rights tells you, "That all power of suspending law, or the execution of laws, by any authority without the consent of the Representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised." This tells us that there can be no suspension of Government, or laws without our own consent: Yet this Constitution can counteract and suspend any of our laws, that contravene its oppressive operation; for they have the power of direct taxation; which suspends our Bill of Rights; and it is expressly provided, that they can make all laws necessary for carrying their powers into execution; and it is declared paramount to the laws and constitutions of the States. Consider how the only remaining defence we have left is destroyed in this manner. Besides the expenses of maintaining the Senate and other House in as much splendor as they please, there is to be a great and mighty President, with very extensive powers; the powers of a King: He is to be supported in extravagant magnificence: So that the whole of our property may be taken by this American Government, by laying what taxes they please, giving themselves what salaries they please, and suspending our laws at their pleasure: I might be thought too inquisitive, but I believe I should take up but very little of your time in enumerating the little power that is left to the Government of Virginia; for this power is reduced to little or nothing

Wow, he nailed it there.  As for an American president living in extravagant magnificence, all we have to do is look at the Obama’s.  And yes, this president has accumulated power – a power that rivals any monarch.  
What about the judiciary?  Do they not put a check on the outrages of a President and Congress?  Again, Patrick Henry nails it:

If they perpetrate the most unwarrantable outrage on your person or property, you cannot get redress on this side of Philadelphia or New York: and how can you get it there? If your domestic avocations could permit you to go thither, there you must appeal to Judges sworn to support this Constitution, in opposition to that of any State, and who may also be inclined to favor their own officers: When these harpies are aided by excisemen, who may search at any time your houses and most secret recesses, will the people bear it? If you think so you differ from me: Where I thought there was a possibility of such mischiefs, I would grant power with a niggardly hand

And see if you can’t draw any parallels with today’s federal government and the warnings proclaimed by Patrick Henry over 200 years ago:
Another beautiful feature of this Constitution is the publication from time to time of the receipts and expenditures of the public money. This expression, from time to time, is very indefinite and indeterminate: It may extend to a century. Grant that any of them are wicked, they may squander the public money so as to ruin you, and yet this expression will give you no redress. I say, they may ruin you;--- for where, Sir, is the responsibility? The yeas and nays will shew you nothing, unless they be fools as well as knaves: For after having wickedly trampled on the rights of the people, they would act like fools indeed, were they to public and divulge their iniquity, when they have it equally in their power to suppress and conceal it. --- Where is the responsibility --- that leading principle in the British government? In that government a punishment, certain and inevitable, is provided: But in this, there is no real actual punishment for the grossest maladministration. They may go without punishment, though they commit the most outrageous violation on our immunities. That paper may tell me they will be punished. I ask, by what law? They must make the law --- for there is no existing law to do it. What --- will they make a law to punish themselves? This, Sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility --- and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves. In the country from which we are descended, they have real, and not imaginary, responsibility --- for there, maladministration has cost their heads, to some of the most saucy geniuses that ever were. The Senate, by making treaties may destroy your liberty and laws for want of responsibility. Two-thirds of those that shall happen to be present, can, with the President, make treaties, that shall be the supreme law of the land: They may make the most ruinous treaties; and yet there is no punishment for them.

Maladministration is exactly what is happening in Washington D.C. and there is no form of punishment that can redress the wrongs these subversives have inflicted upon us citizens.  The Anti-Federalist was right.  Time will tell what is to become of us.

No comments: