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Anathema

It strikes me that two things were fundamental to the founding ideals of America. First was the idea that freedom was not to be applied for — not to the apparatchiks running the place your were leaving from — and certainly not to the apparatchiks fucking up the relatively freer place you were going to. The second, hand-in-hand, was that to the extent law existed, its sole purpose was to protect freedom, above all else, i.e., the freedom of individuals to self-determination. Law, for any other purpose, was to be righteously condemned, ignored, and disobeyed: with prejudice.

Citizens and Subjects were what left other places. Individuals were what arrived on the shores of America.

Yet we live in a land, today, that’s anathema to those founding ideals. It is so perverted, in fact, that the latter ideal, espoused above, has been turned on its head as justification for trampling the former. As regards America and its European ancestry, I can only say: I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, after all.

Well, this is what my mind was on after reading this, along with the posts and comments referenced therein.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

2 Comments

  1. Richard Nikoley on June 14, 2006 at 10:31

    "Yes, this was the idealist sentiment behind the Revolution, but ideals were quickly abandoned when the founding fathers actually set about to writing the Constitution."

    Agreed. I like to think of it as the DoI establishing America and the Consitution establishing the U.S. (and destroying America).

    "…he's not talking about the struggling immigrants or the poor farmers- he's talking about the rich and educated elite. They didn't really have faith in the average person to be able to think for himself- look at the electoral college!"

    Indeed, and given the premise of establishing a state with a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force, it's all understandable, I suppose.

    "It fact, they feared the average person and feared individual rights…"

    Uh, not so fast. Individual rights do not imply any control of one individual or group over another individual or group. They imply exactly the opposite. Rather, I think that they set about to establish a federation of states (come hell or high water) and they were concerned about both monarchy and democracy and representative republicanism with lip-service to individual "rights" (defined by the state, which is a contradiction in itself) is the compromise they struck.

    "I adamantly share your belief about law, but I don't think it's right to align it with the beliefs of the founding fathers"

    Valid criticism. I need to be more careful to separate the ideal of the DoI from the reality of the Constitution in the future.

    Great comment. Wish other commenters were as intelligent and informed.

  2. Dave Peterson on June 14, 2006 at 10:02

    "The second, hand-in-hand, was that to the extent law existed, its sole purpose was to protect freedom, above all else, i.e., the freedom of individuals to self-determination. Law, for any other purpose, was to be righteously condemned, ignored, and disobeyed: with prejudice"

    Yes, this was the idealist sentiment behind the Revolution, but ideals were quickly abandoned when the founding fathers actually set about to writing the Constitution. A framework for the preservation of order and safety was a much higher priority, as well as the idea that America needed to be tightly united nation- after all, that's why the constitution is so much stricter than the articles or confederation- many of the founding fathers, Madison and Hamilton included, were very paranoid about giving the individual, through voting and guarateed rights, so much power- to them it meant control of the masses, who (in the drafters' minds) were ignorant and prone to politically catastrophic mood swings. Don't forget, when in the Federalist papers the author mentions "defense of the minority" he's not talking about the struggling immigrants or the poor farmers- he's talking about the rich and educated elite. They didn't really have faith in the average person to be able to think for himself- look at the electoral college!

    It fact, they feared the average person and feared individual rights- the Bill of Rights that we hold so dear was not written into the Constitution to start with. It came out of a compromise with the more liberal wing of the country, an agreement that went something like "I'll give you these freedoms if you promise to not try to overthrow the government". This was no dobut considered with uprisings such as Shays' rebellion, which proved that the common people were catching on to the reality that the revolution might not have really changed things, in mind. The founding fathers were aware of this sentiment among the common people and the Federalists at least were determined to make sure it never asserted itself, to make sure that the people were never truly allowed to think for themselves. Sure, there were many who shared your beliefs- they were called anti-federalists, but whether it's right or not, they didn't really win out in the end.

    For the record, I adamantly share your belief about law, but I don't think it's right to align it with the beliefs of the founding fathers, because theirs were a lot more complicated and a lot more cynical.

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