FW: Political Commentary

Laib, Steve A41 at MDBE.COM
Wed Jun 28 09:40:00 MDT 1995


 -
>              IS THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE RELEVANT?
>
>                         Political Commentary by Steven D. Laib JD MS
>                                                              c1995
>
>With the recent resurgence of conservative political influence in the
United
>States, there has been renewed interest in the importance of the
Declaration
>of Independence as a document central to the political and philosophical
>underpinnings of our government.  The purpose and intent of this document
>have taken on new level of influence in the minds of some concerned
>citizens.
> There has been a renewed emphasis on the meaning of one of the most
>important phrases of the Declaration; that which states that men are
endowed
>by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and that when a
government
>abridges those rights it is incumbent upon the people throw off that
>government and to restore themselves to their prior state of freedom.
>
>It is, in all likelihood, that this is the underlying principle for many of
>the militia movements which have attracted so much attention of late.  What
>these and other groups are attempting to assert is that basic belief that
>government has no power over the basic rights which God has endowed upon
the
>people.  That governments have no right to regulate such things and that
>inherent in the power of government must be the recognition that the people
>over which it rule own the right to throw it off and replace it if they so
>desire.
>
>It is precisely this type of belief that is under attack in that halls of
>government.  It should be considered inevitable that this or any government
>would take such a view, right or wrong.  And the primarily reasons for this
>should be obvious.  As this writer is fond of pointing out, any and all
>governments are of necessity compose of people just like all others, with
>all
>of the failings and petty desires which are the lot of this species, as
well
>as the potential for greatness.  If the base elements are allowed to
>control,
>then those people in government will not act in the best interests of
>society, and will resent having that fact pointed out to them.  Secondly,
>they will not want to give up that power, and will make all forms of
excuses
>for preventing the people from asserting their rights to remove their
>governors for cause.  In fact, they will, in all likelihood go so far as to
>justify their actions and their suppression of dissent as legitimate, and
in
>so doing violate the principles which the were supposed to protect to an
>even greater degree.
>
>It is interesting to note the history of this situation.   When the first
>major
>constitutional challenge in the history of this nation occurred; the
>incident
>documented in the constitutional landmark case of Marbury v. Madison, the
>Supreme Court stated that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land,
>and that all else must bow before it.  No mention of the Declaration was
>made
>by the court, either as having any force in law, or as a source of
authority
>or as a philosophical basis for the law in the Constitution.  And in doing
>this, Supreme Court made a major mistake.  Since then, the Declaration has
>been almost universally ignored as a document, other than in its historical
>significance.
>
>What the Supreme Court failed to take into account is that without the
>philosophy ordained in the Declaration, the Constitution becomes impotent
as
>an instrument of preserving the rights of the people.  For as we have seen,
>the Court has, upon many occasions, taken it upon itself to allow the
>national
>government to exercise virtually any and all powers it desires.  And
because
>of this, the people have become stripped of many of their rights to seek
>redress of grievances, and to assert their rights against a government
which
>does exceed even the bounds which the courts have set as valid.  The courts
>have also become, in many instances, a tool for enforcing government power,
>and less a tool of preserving the rights of the people, as was originally
>intended.
>
>In order to preserve the rights of the people, the courts, and particularly
>the Supreme Court, must return to a position which recognizes popular
>sovereignty as a reality, rather than as a fiction, popular in the
>classroom,
>but of little or no relevance in practice.  The courts must recognize that
>the Declaration has to be taken into account as the basis for the law which
>the Constitution was intended to be.  We have seen what happens when the
>courts ignore this precept.  We should also be privileged to experience
what
>would be the case if the people were guaranteed their rights in full,
>including the right to choose the form of government, and the powers which
>it
>wields.
>
>The politicians must never be allowed to become superior to the people in
>either power or authority.  Rather, they should be subject to the will of,
>and the legitimate needs of those people.  They should be forced to
>recognize that it is the people who hold the power, and that without them,
>they would have none.  For governments exercise their just powers with the
>consent of the governed.  How many things which government has done do you
>disagree with, or would you withhold your consent too.  Perhaps it is time
>that we took the Declaration more seriously, and required our government to
>do the same.
>
>
>Steve Laib
>Atty. and Philosopher
>                                                               -30-



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