In Search of Mr. Jefferson’s Liberty …

http://i.imgur.com/mVwIr.jpg

I was asked to prepare a talk on the topic of “Jeffersonian Liberty” for Brock’s October PATCON.  I decided to publish ahead of the gathering. 

Read and reflect at your leisure, as I may abstain from doing a formal talk.  I don’t enjoy public speaking, but I do plan to be at the event east of  Tarboro NC on Saturday 5 October.

Permission to republish is granted IF AND ONLY IF the References list is retained in its entirety.  This paper is a novel presentation of thoughts assembled from various authors.  There is very little original content, but it is absent traditional formal footnotes to the sources in the References list.

The welfare state and rules ‘malum prohibitum’ chafe upon our life, liberty and property.  We seem to find easy agreement regarding things that offend us.

The question “What binds us together” has been more difficult to address.  Prior to the Spring PATCON, a small group of us met and failed to agree upon a formal explanation for the purpose of an armed Muster.

That discussion led to conversation about the absence of an agreed description for a vision, a desired end-state that could be embraced by all in the liberty movement.

The meeting broke down over my proposal to adopt Jefferson’s’ definition of Rightful Liberty as the goal, the compelling vision for Patriots.

“Rightful Liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.  I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”   ~ Thomas Jefferson

Rightful Liberty received more challenge than constructive debate.  Objections were raised: the definition of liberty has evolved over time; our society is no longer a moral Christian people.  While these observations are valid, they are a distraction.  We cannot enforce the definition of a word any more than we can dictate religious doctrine to our neighbors.  We must look for a solution that can work within our current circumstances.

We are individuals engaged in an outreach program – ‘organizers’ in the Patriot community.  We are dealing with people who struggle to balance autonomy and community.  A very real antagonism exists between liberty and authority.

Recently, a question arose over whether to include or exclude a particular ‘group’ at the PATCON.   There was no clear criteria by which a decision could be made.  Both the attendees and organizers wish to exercise free choice regarding associations.

Freedom, for a man in nature, is action according to his will regardless of outcome or consequence.  Liberty is different.  Liberty is action disciplined within a social context.

In conducting my research on Mr. Jefferson’s concept of liberty, I learned some things that were unexpected.  I reached some conclusions that are hard to dismiss.

Situation:

Disunity and lack of cohesion is a survival problem for the Patriot community.  Our isolationism is a natural consequence of “individualism”.  Collectivism and tyranny are our ‘common enemies’.  Attempts to “restore the Constitution” have failed to restore liberty.  A compelling vision for a desirable end-state is absent.

An individual is a natural person, a human being, as opposed to a legal person (e.g. a corporation).  Fundamental human rights are implicitly granted only to natural persons.

Prior to the American Revolution, John Locke, the philosopher of individualism, created “a passable explanation – perhaps one may call it a myth – to account for the existence of individual rights” (Russell Kirk).  “All men are created equal” was a conclusion from postulating the existence of ‘mental substance’, or soul, which accompanies the ‘material substance’ of each human body from conception.

Rights attach to the individual and are recognized as pre-political in character.  Locke’s’ prescription for human interaction derives from natures laws and describes liberty in ‘negative’ or restrictive terms.  This created limits upon monarchial or democratic principles for the purpose of protecting minorities – preventing tyranny of the majority.

 “… each man joins in society with others for the mutual protection of his life, liberty and estates…”  “The … chief end … of men uniting into common wealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.”   – Locke

Locke’s philosophy was embraced in our Declaration of Independence.  He influenced the checks and balances in our Constitution.  His concept of unalienable rights led to a ‘charter of negative liberties’ which formed the first  ten Amendments – our Bill of Rights.

What should be the real goal of our “restoration” effort?  Should our effort be defense of the Bill of Rights, restoration of the original intent behind the Constitution, or reclamation of our Rightful Liberty as understood in the Declaration of Independence?

Jeremy Bentham, an English contemporary of the American Revolution commented on law, stating: “Every law is an infraction of liberty”.

If we turn to legislative action to restore liberty, how are we different from “statists” and tyrants who coerce others to adopt their preferred culture, norms and behaviors?  People who resort to statutory law and regulation are using force to manipulate other people for their own purposes.

Task:

Accept the facts of our current reality and ‘engineer’ a solution.  Begin with the individual as the fundamental unit of human value.  Work to diminish the power and control of the collective and the tyrant.  Abandon legislative action as a means to guarantee liberty, as legal structure is only a mechanism to control others.  Establish conditions that encourage a desired end-state.

“Force and conquest, in England as elsewhere, constituted the actual cement of society …”  Russell Kirk, intro to Lockes’ 2nd Treatise on Civil Government

At the conclusion of the American Revolution, the “cement” of the English monarchy had been eliminated and the “bricks”, the former Colonists, embraced a philosophy of individual sovereignty within the governance of their 13 independent Republics.

But if every human is an independent and sovereign entity, to what or whom do we submit?  And WHY ?

In the United States as in England, the common law derived its legitimacy from obedience to a sovereign.  But in the States the people were sovereign.  They consented rather than submitted to the common law.  Courts transformed from being instruments of a single, distant, authoritative voice, into institutions belonging to the people, and operating by their consent.

Americans, more than the English, understood the common law to be the product of natural law and reason.  In the hands of the people it was no threat to liberty.  (Constitutional Rights in Common Law World – Tvrdy)

James Madison, however, (architect of the Constitution) believed that liberty required more than the mere absence of coercive authority.  His vision of Liberty as a personal, social, and political ideal was dependent upon the existence of certain affirmative social and political conditions.  For Madison, freedom required a social balance between diverse, often competing, social interests.  (Federalist Papers 10 and 51)

Positive liberty was a form of collective regulation for a social and political world.  The Madisonian concept of democracy was a ‘popular government’ in support of ‘popular sovereignty’, but was fundamentally in opposition to individualism.  The distribution of power across groups and citizens was envisioned to check the influence of minority factions.  Consequently the rights of the “smallest minority”, the individual, were at risk.

The Constitution was designed to not operate directly upon individual persons.  Most ratifying conventions hoped the “more perfect union” would be a minimal structure, to facilitate Jefferson’s’ procedural and instrumental legislation among the several States.

The first ten Articles of Amendment to the Constitution attempted to guarantee that natural rights of individuals would not be violated by the newly created general government.  The language in the preamble to the Bill of Rights made this very clear:

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: …”

Liberty was doomed by the time the Convention of 1787 had concluded.  This statement may seem to conflict with the adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1791, but in fact the BoR was an attempt to breathe liberty back into the corpse of a confederation subsumed by the new national government.

The initial influence of the new “general government” was small, however, and at the local level the people lived their lives under common law and enjoyed their “rightful liberty”.

Jefferson dismissed the “overarching social interest” expressed by Madison, stating “The rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of individuals.”  From Jefferson’s’ perspective the Constitution made no provision against the destruction of liberty by factions.

What might the product of the convention of 1787 have looked like if Jefferson had not been exiled to France?  What do we need to live more like Jefferson?

Action:

Articulate a vision of liberty for free minds and free markets.  Embrace individual sovereignty and act in a consistent manner.  Reject all collectivism and repel coercion from any source.  Withdraw consent from legislative jurisdiction.  Seek voluntary collaboration with other free men.

At the time of Jefferson, common law was the form in which Natural law was expressed and presented in the courts.  It was the ‘operational’ basis of John Locke’s’ formal and abstract statements of political philosophy.

Jefferson integrated a Lockean description of negative rights into his understanding of common law and social interaction.  He grouped rights into two categories:  natural and unalienable – inherent in man, derived from natures’ laws; and procedural or instrumental –to preserve free government, issuing from affirmative law.  An example of the first is freedom of religion; an example of the second is freedom of the press.

“Affirmative” legislation evolved to become a mechanism to provide benefits to those who consented to participate in society.  Legislative law however should never violate natural law.  Any positive law that violates natural law is a void law, regardless of the excuses or arguments made for its need. [Note]

An unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law is in reality no law, but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose.  No one Is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.  (16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256)

The ‘bad seed’ of affirmative legislation had been planted.  A few generations after the introduction of positive liberty came the Progressive idea that rights did not need to be regarded as pre-political checks on democratic process.  Rights could be generated by affirmative legislation.

After 200 years of progressive, affirmative legislation, we live in a world of entitlements where the government expects you to believe that individual and unalienable human rights are subject to legislative enactment.  Once the transfer from faith in God to reliance on the State had been accomplished, natural rights are no longer relevant.

The contemporary result is that men are now forced to pay for “social benefits” (e.g. Affordable Health Care Tax).  We are bound in involuntary servitude, even though such action is expressly forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment to our Constitution. [Note]

The decision whereby Chief Justice John Roberts declared Obamacare a “tax”, and therefore ‘constitutional’, puzzled me greatly until I discovered a passage in an obscure Senate publication from 1933 (Contracts Payable in Gold, top of pg 13):

“The ultimate ownership of all property is in the State; individual so-called “ownership” is only by virtue of Government, i.e. law, amounting to mere user; and use must be in accordance with law, and subordinate to the necessities of the State.”

This short passage exposes the perverse logic of how governments extract rent called “property tax” from people who hold no mortgages.  And by extension, the tax called “Obamacare” is justified as a form of rent for the continued use of our physical persons – a property ultimately owned and operated by the State, not ourselves.

I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to provide advice regarding how to withdraw consent and challenge legislative jurisdiction.  But I am persuaded from my research that there are no legislative bodies in America that have any authority to make laws, rules, or regulations that can be forced upon any free individual – absent his consent.

Any tacit consent that violates the rights of individuals is the result of fraud and deception. [Note]  This is the point of departure from which we must reclaim liberty

Result:

Recover Rightful Liberty through restoration of common law.

The common law is understood through “maxims of law”.  These are foundational principles which cannot be lawfully violated.  They are statements grounded in logic, reason, common sense, and truth.  Lists of maxims are published and available.  A few examples will suffice here: [Note]

  • A man cannot give any thing, power or authority he does not have
  • No one has the right to force an obligation on another with impunity
  • The people, as individuals, in America are sovereign
  • In America the government is the servant of the sovereign people
  • Truth is paramount and the objective of the rules of law
  • Might does not make right
  • Thou shall not steal
  • Thou shall not bear false witness
  • A person is innocent until proven guilty
  • All presumptions of law are rebuttable
  • Written law cannot lawfully or morally violate rights of a free man
  • Force, perjury, or subornation of perjury, voids all

The third Maxim has been a source of much debate over the years.  Is sovereignty an attribute of an individual, the people as a body politic, a State as a member of the Union, or the general government?

Article IV, section 4 of the Constitution states: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

A Republic is a government in which supreme power is held by citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives governing according to law.

Our guarantee of a Republican form of government does not ascribe sovereignty to the States.  Sovereignty was not delegated to the general government in the limited grant of powers enumerated in Article 1 Section 8.  The supreme power, sovereignty, is retained by the people to be exercised through delegation to officers.

A citizen, as an instance of ‘the people’, has placed himself in the service and legislative jurisdiction of a government in return for protections and benefits.  This involves an explicit or implicit consent which allows for encroachment or infringement upon rights.

Ultimately all powers derive from the sovereignty of the individual who may at any time withdraw consent and resume the direct enjoyment of all rights and prerogatives.

As a consequence of the first Maxim, a man at liberty under common law should be able to directly exercise the same powers that he delegates to government.  No officer in our current governments would acknowledge this possibility or tolerate the act.

At liberty under common law, with a strict adherence to natural law, an individual may do with his actions, possessions, and persons, anything he may see fit, without the consent or approval of any other individual, government, or human power.  [Note]

The laws of nature only constrain him insofar as he may not create damage, violate the liberty or possessions of other, or create an obvious danger.  This is known as living within the common law of the land. [Note]

DHS and local law enforcement have labeled men at liberty “sovereign citizens” and claim they are a threat to peace and order – enemies of the state.  The label is an oxymoron as a citizen has ceded sovereignty, and a sovereign is not bound by the obligations of citizenship.

LEO warns of anarchy and attempts to scare people from seeking and achieving Rightful Liberty.  People must be educated to understand that anarchy does not happen because people violate statutory or positive law – regulation and malum prohibitum.  Anarchy only happens when people violate natural law.  [Note]

Logic dictates that when the maxims of law are followed, truth, justice and fairness prevail in a high percentage of cases.  It is virtually impossible to manipulate maxims of law in order to create fraud or injustice in the way an attorney can manipulate statute and regulation to cause confusion and create injustice. [Note]

[Pause for effect…]

So let us reflect on the problems facing our Patriot community.

What is the primary difference today between the ‘community organizers’ who are collectivists and our efforts as individualists to organize the Patriot community?  Collectivists embrace legislative force to achieve their “ends”; individualists rely upon voluntary cooperation.

Voluntarism among individuals may result in a loss of certain liberties (sovereignty), but voluntarism is elective and reversible.  The Constitution was ratified by voluntary actions of representatives of nine States and, at the time, none believed their decision was irrevocable.

Can patriots learn from community organizers to achieve our goals without intrusion upon rightful liberty?  Any contemporary statist, whether they call themselves Republican, conservative or constitutionalist, who endorses the use of force by the state to deliver goods and services or otherwise achieve social / political / financial outcomes, is using collective power to enslave individuals.

Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, government and the courts have engaged in silent judicial encroachment.  They presume that all citizens have submitted their private lives, affairs, and property to the domination of government.  By this presumption of law men are obligated to abide by, and be obedient to, legislation.

We have been conditioned since birth to accept and consent to some form of man made authority.  Our founding fathers never dreamed that the people of today would accept feudalism without concern. [Note]

The question each of you should be asking yourself at this moment is: “Given the American proposition that sovereignty resides in the people, as individuals, from where did any legislature acquire the supreme right to make laws that can force obligations and violate the rights of private people?” [Note]

The act of withdrawing consent removes the obligation to submit to legislative authority.

Withdrawal of consent restores all that was compromised or aliened by the former social compact, parts of which were clearly implemented by fraud.

In so doing, men become morally free to resist all forms of coercion with retaliatory force – in all domains of life.  To the extent of one’s courage, any man may once again enjoy rightful liberty.

“Rightful Liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.  I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”   ~ Thomas Jefferson

The law that is often “but the tyrant’s will” is that affirmative legislation and regulation enacted to wrest control our lives, liberties and estates and fix them under legislative jurisdiction. 

A return to common law is a necessary prerequisite to restore Rightful Liberty, the object and desired end-state of all free men.

Our task is to learn and practice common law among ourselves, and in defense of encroachments by collectivists and their presumption of law.

A focus on common law and Rightful Liberty will direct our attention toward what we value, and minimize “division” within the Patriot Movement.

I may continue to pay tribute /taxes to the governments that claim jurisdiction over me – but I do so at present under protest and duress.

I have begun to withdraw my consent …

Hans Mentha

on a quest to live in Rightful Liberty in the NC woods

24 August 2013

 

Quotes in closing:

“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.”  – Thomas B. Reed

“Anarchy does not happen because people violate written or positive law.  Anarchy only happens when people violate natural law.”  – Robert Hart

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me.  If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them;if I find them too obnoxious, I break them.  I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”   – Robert Heinlein

 

REFERENCES 

 

Of Civil Government – 2nd Treatise, John Locke

Gateway Edition, 1955, 1971 – Introduction by Russell Kirk 

 

Challenge Jurisdiction: Shifting the Burden of Proof

http://famguardian.org/TaxFreedom/Instructions/5.9ChallengeJurisdiction.htm 

 

Citizen / Slave: Understanding the American Sovereign Spirit – Robert Hart

http://www.amazon.com/Citizen-slave-Understanding-American-Sovereign/dp/0805998780

[Note] I have used numerous sentences from this book, and paraphrased others, as their inclusion suited the theme of this paper.  I believe my excerpts are legitimate under “fair use” and create no damage in common law to the intellectual property or the economic well being of the author.  Full credit is given and the absence of traditional detailed footnotes should not be construed as intent to plagiarize.  The commercial link below the book title is a good faith gesture to strengthen the economic interests of the author. 

 

Common Law and Uncommon Courts

http://archive.adl.org/mwd/common.asp

 

Common Law Court – Rules of Procedure

http://www.civil-liberties.com/commonlaw/rules.htm

 

Common Law Practice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Oatmealo/Common_law_practice

 

Constitutional Rights in a Common Law World

http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/download/fedora_content/download/ac:161556/CONTENT/Tvrdy_columbia_0054D_11398.pdf

 

Contracts Payable in Gold – George C. Thorpe, US GPO 1933

http://www.famguardian.org/Subjects/MoneyBanking/History/SenateDoc43.pdf

 

Defining Liberty and Authority

http://ashbrook.org/publications/respub-v5n1-grubaugh/

 

Favorite Jefferson Quotes

http://www.famguardian.org/Subjects/Politics/ThomasJefferson/jeff4.htm

 

Forced Consent – Lysander Spooner

http://ncrenegade.com/editorial/reflections-on-tyranny-140-yrs-ago-vs-today/

 

Is The Founders’ Intent Gone Forever?

http://iiipercent.blogspot.com/2013/08/is-founders-intent-gone-forever.html

 

Freedom and Liberty Defined

http://www.history1700s.com/articles/article1123.shtml

 

Henry Thoreau and ‘Civil Disobedience’

http://thoreau.eserver.org/wendy.html

 

John Locke: Natural Rights to Life, Liberty and Property

http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/john-locke-natural-rights-to-life-liberty-and-property#axzz2b9VNhJsZ

 

John Stuart Mill – On Liberty

http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/mill/section3.rhtml

 

Lockes’ Political Philosophy

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/

 

Malum Prohibitum: The Evil Legal Language of Progressivism

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/01/william-l-anderson/malum-prohibitum-the-evil-legal-language-of-progressivism/

 

Maxims of Law – 1852 Law Dictionary, John Bouvier

http://famguardian.org/Publications/BouvierMaximsOfLaw/BouviersMaximsOfLaw.pdf

 

Path to Freedom

http://famguardian.org/index.htm

 

A Quest to Pursue Rightful Liberty

http://ncrenegade.com/editorial/a-quest-to-pursue-rightful-liberty/

 

The Provenance of Liberty and the Evolution of Political Thinking in the United States

http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/provenanceliberty.html

 

Sovereignty Education and Defense Ministry (SEDM)

http://sedm.org/

 

A Third Theory of Liberty: The Evolution of Our Conception of Freedom in American Constitutional Thought

http://www.hastingsconlawquarterly.org/archives/V29/I2/Hill.pdf

 

What Would Free Men Do ?

http://ncrenegade.com/editorial/wwfmd-2/

 

Who Are We ? What Holds Us Together ?

http://ncrenegade.com/editorial/who-are-we-what-holds-us-together/

      
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19 Responses to In Search of Mr. Jefferson’s Liberty …

  1. Mozart says:

    Good work David, need time to digest but obviously a well done task.

    Mozart

  2. Mozart says:

    Apologies to Hans, I assumed… non-the-less well done.

  3. Pingback: More Than Interesting — “In Search of Mr. Jefferson’s Liberty …” | Government Rites and Wrongs

  4. Jim Klein says:

    Thank you both. Now that’s how you get down to business.

  5. It is certainly thought provoking and I see it is an attempt to bridge the divide between citizens who have decided our government is out of control but can’t find common ground on a definitive course of action.

  6. Larry Porter says:

    Hans,
    Well researched and well written. You are right that the experiment called the United States of America began to fall apart immediately after the Constitution was written. Also you made a well founded observation that groups forming today to work toward rebuilding have a difficult time agreeing, not yet on action, but defining who and what we are before we can act. The two situations are intertwined. The Experiment began to falter from the same reason we, as patriot groups, wrestle with our action plans. We are individuals with ideas of what and who we are. And we are as odd to the general population as our founding fathers were to theirs. History has shown that human nature always pushes man toward passing on responsibility to someone else, whether it is to a doctor for their health, or to a politician or policeman to keep us safe. The rebuilding groups are different. We take responsibility for our actions and, in most cases, are willing to pay the price for those, ergo, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. The general population doesn’t even know what that means let alone be willing to sign off on it. There has to be some sacrifice of individual liberties in order to join a society. Otherwise, one would be left to live as a “mountain man.” But then, that really isn’t possible today. So there is a fine balance between the two, sovereignty and society. That is what we must work to solve, how to accomplish that balance. I’d like to mention my book “After America: Rebuilding” in which I have presented what I consider to be a unique answer to that balance in the government formed in Nevada. It comes as close as my small mind could come to answering this ageless problem.

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  8. Jim Klein says:

    Great comment, Larry, until this line…” There has to be some sacrifice of individual liberties in order to join a society.”

    No, there doesn’t. Sacrifice is the choice of a lower value than a higher one. Being willing to give up a value, even life itself, for something one loves--family, fellow soldiers, whatever--is NOT a sacrifice. Like everything else, liberty is just a CHOICE and rational choices are built of the recognition that one is a free choosing being, and that NOTHING can reign supreme over that existential fact. You ARE free, and that’s the way it is.

    Don’t be hoodwinked into the scam that something can be more important than you, TO YOU. Sacrifice is the scourge of the Earth. That’s why progressives, tyrants and collectivists of all stripes want so badly that you accept it. CHOOSING to be part of a free society, and even VOLUNTARILY agreeing to various rules, is no sacrifice at all.

  9. Larry Porter says:

    Jim,
    I’m not hoodwinked into anything. I personally believe that one who gives his/her life in the name of freedom has made a sacrifice. It was by choice, to be sure, but it became a requirement due to circumstances beyond the person’s control. Otherwise he/she would not have been required to die, that is, they wouldn’t have been put in that situation in they first place. When we choose to live in a societal environment we are continually presented with such choices, not so drastic,as choosing death, of course. But we may be going into the same slippery slope Hans talked about, trying to define words. We can say anything isn’t really a sacrifice if we choose it, but then we are making a different kind of choice. Without rules there can’t be a society, since every member of it has a different idea of what they want. The trick is to make those rules as amenable to all as is possible. But a perfect example of how difficult this is was the Experiment in the first place. all of the colonies didn’t agree to the Declaration or join the confederacy at first. And yet we mostly consider it to have been the best idea of how a government should work ever to come along.

    • tmedlin says:

      well said, Larry. I have seen so many groups -- tea party groups, patriot groups, survival and prepper groups, start out just fine, and then fall apart. When I questioned people about what happened, why they left the group, etc. I kept getting the same story -- one person, fighting against tyranny, actually began acting like the very tyrants they were organized against. I think people who are serious our their liberty, are not going to turn around and give it up to someone else, a group leader, that tries to mandate the activities and responsibilities of people within that group. And the bigger a group becomes, the more difficult it is to reach agreement on roles, rules, and objectives…sigh…

  10. Jim Klein says:

    “I personally believe…”

    Yes, that’s always my main point. Sacrifice to your heart’s content; the real question is how to get others to go along. You can persuade ’em or you can force ’em. Our “leaders” have done a magnificent job at both. Over time, people are waking up and saying, “Thanks anyway, but no.”

    Or there’s always Patton, “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.” Q.E.D.

  11. samsapeel1 says:

    Specious crap. Self-contradictory and circular definitions help nothing.

    Resolve the definitions of the words used, and things might become clearer.

    One example:
    A. “Freedom, for a man in nature, is action according to his will regardless of outcome or consequence. Liberty is different. Liberty is action disciplined within a social context.”

    B. “Jeremy Bentham, an English contemporary of the American Revolution commented on law, stating: ‘Every law is an infraction of liberty’.”

    A and B cannot simultaneously both be true. To propose both as true at the same time suggests a total lack of cognitive dissonance suggestive of schizophrenia. Either that, or the use of terms like “law” and “social context” with meanings that only the author knows.

    The whole article is full of self-contradictions, mis-defined or undefined terms, and make believe (Locke never framed anything in term of “negative rights” — that’s a statist conceit). The author either cannot decide between, or is unable to distinguish, tyranny and anarchy. He misstates what “common law” is, rails against legislation, and then proceeds to set forth a list of particular “rules” agreed upon and consented to by no one but himself. And what happens when I disagree with THOSE “rules”?

    What a confused mess.

    • Hans says:

      Dear samsapeel1

      I’ve just returned from a pleasant Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride, so I will be gracious and tolerant of your rant.

      “What a confused mess.” The history of man and the nature of mens’ interactions is inherently “messy”.

      I never claimed that “A” and “B” were propositions with a logic value of “True”. Bentham’s statement is an extreme position, an opinion which I used to question whether one can appropriately use law to enact liberty.

      For your claim of cognitive dissonance, I am capable of holding conflicting thoughts while I examine their merits and veracity. And I think you meant to say “cognitive dissonance” rather than “a total lack of cognitive dissonance”.

      Regarding your laundry list of allegations (“The whole article is full of self-contradictions, …”) I recommend you read the articles in the References list and then re-read my post. You will find I have given a fair explanation of common law and set no list of rules that I expect to impose on others by force.

      Finally, if you use your search engine to look for “Locke and ‘negative rights'” you will find a generous selection of simple to read summaries, which you can view in easy to read large print.

      Have fun trolling elsewhere,
      Hans

  12. Larry Porter says:

    The entire philosophy of language is a conundrum. That is the basic problem when developing any society. Any thing that is given a name at once limits that thing. For example, a table is only a table whilst one eats from it. But even in our English language we say “it becomes a bed” if one sleeps atop it, or “it becomes a workbench” if one repairs a clock on it, or a chair if one sits on it, etc. And that is a simple table. When we begin to name concepts, then everyone gets into the conversation with an opinion. So to call an article that tries to disseminate meanings of conceptual words clap trap is, in itself clap trap. If one is not willing to try to have a conversation about ideas, then one best remain alone and not join the fray of society. It is, indeed messy, Hans.

  13. Jim Klein says:

    It’s less of a conundrum, Larry, than it is misunderstood. Take comfort, Hans, and pride. In this world up is down, so confusing is plainly straightforward.

    • Hans says:

      Hi Jim (and Larry)

      Thanks … I am comfortable and at peace in this confused world … although it took me 63 years of inquiry and exploration to get my head ‘here’.

      “I may be goin’ to hell in a bucket, but at least I’m enjoyin’ the ride!” -- John Barlow

      Hans
      in the NC woods

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