Friday, May 10, 2013

Thoughts from Adams & Franklin


In his introduction to The Rights of the Colonists by Samuel Adams in 1772, Benjamin Franklin recorded some thoughts that apply well today:
All accounts of the discontent so general in our colonies have of late years been industriously smothered and concealed here; it seeming to suit the views of the American minister [Lord Hillsborough], to have it understood that by his great abilities all faction was subdued, all opposition suppressed, and the whole country quieted.
That the true state of affairs there may be known, and the true causes of that discontent well understood, the following piece (not the production of a private writer, but the unanimous act of a large American city), lately printed in New England, is republished here. This nation, and the other nations of Europe, may thereby learn, with more certainty, the grounds of a dissension that possibly may, sooner or later, have consequences interesting to them all.
One could easily paraphrase Franklin’s words as follows:
All accounts of the discontent so general in our nation have of late years been industriously smothered and concealed here; it seeming to suit the views of the American President, to have it understood that by his great abilities all faction was subdued, all opposition suppressed, and the whole country quieted.
That the true state of affairs there may be known, and the true causes of that discontent well understood, the following piece lately blogged is republished here. This nation, and the other nations of the world, may thereby learn, with more certainty, the grounds of a dissension that possibly may, sooner or later, have consequences interesting to them all.
In his treatise, Adams asserted,
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.
All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.
When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.
Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains. [emphasis mine]
All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity.
As neither reason requires nor religion permits the contrary, every man living in or out of a state of civil society has a right peaceably and quietly to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. [emphasis mine]
"Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty," in matters spiritual and temporal, is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the law of nations and all well-grounded municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former.
. . . The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole. [emphasis mine]
In the state of nature men may, as the patriarchs did, employ hired servants for the defence [sic], of their lives, liberties, and property; and they should pay them reasonable wages. Government was instituted for the purposes of common defence [sic], and those who hold the reins of government have an equitable, natural right to an honorable support from the same principle that "the laborer is worthy of his hire." But then the same community which they serve ought to be the assessors of their pay. Governors have no right to seek and take what they please; by this, instead of being content with the station assigned them, that of honorable servants of the society, they would soon become absolute masters, despots, and tyrants. [emphasis mine]
When it was incorporated by Thomas Jefferson into the Declaration of Independence, the rights of citizens were cited as, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Adams asserted that natural rights remained with citizens and were to be honored by the government. The most basic right is self-preservation. Further, he noted that personal property could not be taken from people without their consent.
For a government to attempt to disarm citizens is to deny both the right of self-preservation and the right to retain their property. When the 2nd Amendment was written in to the Constitution, it codified the natural right to keep and bear arms.
Adams warned that public servants (and elected officials of government could not take what they wanted from the population lest they become “absolute masters, despots and tyrants.”
Today the Obama administration, Congress and the Supreme Court has forgotten this basic fact of history and, in fact, are all becoming despots and tyrants dictating what they think is right rather than acknowledging the natural rights of citizens.
One of those natural rights, tolerance for worship in its many expressions, is also encoded into the Constitution in the form of the 1st Amendment. Increasingly, the administration is denying citizens and especially military members the right to practice their faith.
Adams cites the writing of John Locke, saying “Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. “
Efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood has undue influence with the federal government to challenge, threaten, and oppose the practice of the Christian and Jewish religions is subversive to American culture.
Atheists as well are practicing their non-faith in a supreme deity by “worming” their way into governmental decision-making on religious grounds and a faux equality and fairness platform.
Spineless military leaders and politicians are laying down our natural rights without protest.
If we truly love this country and want to see it continue for our children and their children, we must speak out and demand cessation of these insidious attacks on the culture of America. 

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