Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Right of revolution

Written By: Bob - Jan• 21•13

I’ve held since the beginning of this ideological battle that to defeat those who would destroy the Constitution of the United States, we’d have to overcome the profound ignorance of our heritage imposed upon us by this nation’s educational system.

It is no accident that when the communist radical terrorists of the 1960s went underground, they reemerged as part of the university system, perverting and reshapng the information available to future generations. They have a singular task; to bring down the tree of liberty by separating the trunk from the roots.

It is no accident that Barack Obama’s terrorist mentor Bill Ayers is keynoting an educational conference next month. They seek to erase our true legacy of freedom, make us just another average nation in wider world. They want us to doubt ourselves, so that we may fall sway to to their rhetoric of lies.

The only force that destroys a lie is the truth, something a man named Jack Dailey knew when he created the Appleseed Project in April of 2006.

The “hook” of the program is inexpensive marksmanship training so solid that it has been used to train deploying combat troops, but that hook of marksmanship is used to get participants exposed to the pathway of your heritage as well, if you will let it be your guide.

From Appleseed I discovered David Hacket Fischer’s Paul Revere’s Ride, and in it, a thirst for more of our shared heritage. It led me from one book to another along a path of discovery, which in turn inspired me to create my own library for troubled times.

Along that path of self-enlightenment, I discovered a wonderful online resource, The Founder’s Constitution. While I want to eventually get a print edition of the five-book set, the edition posted online is a wonderful primer.

I actually stumbled into the series when arguing on Twitter with a Chicago real estate lawyer (likely a glorified recent collector) who swore up and down that that the Founding Fathers did not believe in the right to revolt against a tyrannical government. As you may imagine, my jaw nearly hit the floor.

Men that had just rebelled against a tyrannical government, did not believe in the mortally dangerous pursuit in which they’d spent more than a decade of their lives pursuing? It was a laughable argument on its face, but I wanted to show documentation showing how absurd his conjecture was. While I was looking for an appropriate quote from one of the Founders, what I found was an entire section of The Founder’s Constitution entitled Right of Revolution.

It cites the philosophies underpinning the right of revolution against tyrants beginning with Sidney, Locke, and Blackstone, and then goes on to cite some of the more influential Founding Fathers themselves.

Here’s a brief survey of their thoughts.

From Algernon Sidney, Discourses concerning Government 1698 (posthumous), Works 188–95, 458–62:

Tumult is from the disorderly manner of those assemblies, where things can seldom be done regularly; and war is that “decertatio per vim,” or trial by force, to which men come when other ways are ineffectual.

If the laws of God and men are therefore of no effect, when the magistracy is left at liberty to break them, and if the lusts of those, who are too strong for the tribunals of justice, cannot be otherwise restrained, than by sedition, tumults, and war, those seditions, tumults, and wars, are justified by the laws of God and man.

I will not take upon me to enumerate all the cases in which this may be done, but content myself with three, which have most frequently given occasion for proceedings of this kind.

The first is, when one or more men take upon them the power and name of a magistracy, to which they are not justly called.

The second, when one or more, being justly called, continue in their magistracy longer than the laws by which they are called do prescribe.

And the third, when he or they, who are rightly called, do assume a power, though within the time prescribed, that the law does not give; or turn that which the law does give, to an end different and contrary to that which is intended by it.

Sidney’s “trial by force” is the right of revolution. Sidney argues that there are three justifications for rebellion, enumerated above.

John Locke, Second Treatise, §§ 149:

Though in a Constituted Commonwealth, standing upon its own Basis, and acting according to its own Nature, that is, acting for the preservation of the Community, there can be but one Supream Power, which is the Legislative, to which all the rest are and must be subordinate, yet the Legislative being only a Fiduciary Power to act for certain ends, there remains still in the People a Supream Power to remove or alter the Legislative, when they find the Legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them. For all Power given with trust for the attaining an end, being limited by that end, whenever that end is manifestly neglected, or opposed, the trust must necessarily be forfeited, and the Power devolve into the hands of those that gave it, who may place it anew where they shall think best for their safety and security. And thus the Community perpetually retains a Supream Power of saving themselves from the attempts and designs of any Body, even of their Legislators, whenever they shall be so foolish, or so wicked, as to lay and carry on designs against the Liberties and Properties of the Subject. For no Man, or Society of Men, having a Power to deliver up their Preservation, or consequently the means of it, to the Absolute Will and arbitrary Dominion of another; whenever any one shall go about to bring them into such a Slavish Condition, they will always have a right to preserve what they have not a Power to part with; and to rid themselves of those who invade this Fundamental, Sacred, and unalterable Law of Self-Preservation, for which they enter’d into Society. And thus the Community may be said in this respect to be always the Supream Power, but not as considered under any Form of Government, because this Power of the People can never take place till the Government be dissolved.

Locke argues that when a congress exceeds its power, it may be removed, by force of arms if necessary, and this small sample is just an introduction to Locke’s thoughts on the right of revolt, from the single philosopher who most clearly influenced the Founders.

William Blackstone, Commentaries:

Indeed, it is found by experience, that whenever the unconstitutional oppressions, even of the sovereign power, advance with gigantic strides and threaten desolation to a state, mankind will not be reasoned out of the feelings of humanity; nor will sacrifice their liberty by a scrupulous adherence to those political maxims, which were originally established to preserve it. And therefore, though the positive laws are silent, experience will furnish us with a very remarkable case, wherein nature and reason prevailed. When king James the second invaded the fundamental constitution of the realm, the convention declared an abdication, whereby the throne was rendered vacant, which induced a new settlement of the crown. And so far as this precedent leads, and no farther, we may now be allowed to lay down the law of redress against public oppression. If therefore any future prince should endeavour to subvert the constitution by breaking the original contract between king and people, should violate the fundamental laws, and should withdraw himself out of the kingdom; we are now authorized to declare that this conjunction of circumstances would amount to an abdication, and the throne would be thereby vacant. But it is not for us to say, that any one, or two, of these ingredients would amount to such a situation; for there our precedent would fail us. In these therefore, or other circumstances, which a fertile imagination may furnish, since both law and history are silent, it becomes us to be silent too; leaving to future generations, whenever necessity and the safety of the whole shall require it, the exertion of those inherent (though latent) powers of society, which no climate, no time, no constitution, no contract, can ever destroy or diminish.

Blackstone’s English may be atonal to modern American speech, but his theories are sound: leaders may be deposed when they violate the constitutions of their realm, while the constitutions of the state remain sovereign.

Samuel Adams, Boston Gazette 27 Feb. 1769

To vindicate these rights, says Mr. Blackstone, when actually violated or attack’d, the subjects of England are entitled first to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law–next to the right of petitioning the King and parliament for redress of grievances–and lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” These he calls “auxiliary subordinate rights, which serve principally as barriers to protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights of personal security, personal liberty and private property”: And that of having arms for their defence he tells us is “a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”–How little do those persons attend to the rights of the constitution, if they know anything about them, who find fault with a late vote of this town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide themselves with arms for their defence at any time; but more especially, when they had reason to fear, there would be a necessity of the means of self preservation against the violence of oppression.–Every one knows that the exercise of the military power is forever dangerous to civil rights; and we have had recent instances of violences that have been offer’d to private subjects, and the last week, even to a magistrate in the execution of his office!–Such violences are no more than might have been expected from military troops: A power, which is apt enough at all times to take a wanton lead, even when in the midst of civil society; but more especially so, when they are led to believe that they are become necessary, to awe a spirit of rebellion, and preserve peace and good order. But there are some persons, who would, if possibly they could, perswade the people never to make use of their constitutional rights or terrify them from doing it. No wonder that a resolution of this town to keep arms for its own defence, should be represented as having at bottom a secret intention to oppose the landing of the King’s troops: when those very persons, who gave it this colouring, had before represented the peoples petitioning their Sovereign, as proceeding from a factious and rebellious spirit; and would now insinuate that there is an impropriety in their addressing even a plantation Governor upon public business–Such are the times we are fallen into!

Again, while citing Blackstone, Founder Samuel Adams argues the right of rebellion against tyranny.

Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted 23 Feb. 1775

This is what is called the law of nature, “which, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid, derive all their authority, mediately, or immediately, from this original.” Blackstone.

Upon this law, depend the natural rights of mankind, the supreme being gave existence to man, together with the means of preserving and beatifying that existence. He endowed him with rational faculties, by the help of which, to discern and pursue such things, as were consistent with his duty and interest, and invested him with an inviolable right to personal liberty, and personal safety.

Hence, in a state of nature, no man had any moral power to deprive another of his life, limbs, property or liberty; nor the least authority to command, or exact obedience from him; except that which arose from the ties of consanguinity.

Hence also, the origin of all civil government, justly established, must be a voluntary compact, between the rulers and the ruled; and must be liable to such limitations, as are necessary for the security of the absolute rights of the latter; for what original title can any man or set of men have, to govern others, except their own consent? To usurp dominion over a people, in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive power than they are willing to entrust, is to violate that law of nature, which gives every man a right to his personal liberty; and can, therefore, confer no obligation to obedience.

Hamilton states in these sampled paragraphs the fact that unjust laws and unjust leaders need not be obeyed, for they violate a higher natural law and are therefore invalid.

I invite you to study the Right of Revolution, so that you, too, may know where your rights are, so that you may know when and if the powers sought by the state are just or unjust, and whether or not the men and women forcing those laws upon you are your leaders, or if they have devolved into tyrants seeking to steal your liberties for their profit and power.

Education is your most powerful weapon. Avail yourself of it.

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10 Comments

  1. WiscoDave says:

    Have you ever looked into Hillsdale College’s online Constitution course?

  2. david7134 says:

    Marksmanship is extremely important. But more so is how to move under fire. Get a few friends and go to a paintball course. You will quickly find out how important movement is.

    • Comrade X says:

      Funny thing about paintball(the old way it was played in the woods with 12 gram that is, don’t know no other), I have found many LEO’s are at a real disadvantage, they take cover like in real/live fire where in winning the day it can take people who understand (or just don’t care for themselves) moving for the position and the flank which may mean sacrifice but victory for the team.

      The larger meaning can be applied to being a Patriot too methinks!

  3. scituate_tgr says:

    Great post/reference to spread around the web today. Now, if we can just get the sheep to read it.

    Thx Bob

  4. I’ve always supported and agreed with the Revolution in “violation of social contract” laws, and have no issues with opposing unjust laws with civil disobedience. Heck, I remember when the Zenger trial was taught in high schools supporting jury nullification of bad laws (I still support jury nullification against the War on Drugs, but that’s a different topic)…

    However, I’m having a problem with the Revolutionary War and Aquinas’ Just War theory. I know that the colonies were certainly more right under the theory than the Crown, but that doesn’t make the colonists right, just less wrong. (Likewise, I believe the South was more correct under Just War than the Union, excluding one little problem: they fought to defend an institution clearly and utterly indefensible from a Biblical point of view.)

    I am having trouble reconciling a Second Revolutionary War with Just War theory, and I’m not yet ready to throw out the Just War theories either.

    Any suggestions on how to approach this problem?

    (Now, mind you, I expect the Debt Addict to fall apart under the weight of $17 trillion, and Just War wouldn’t apply once the monster goes zombie, but I am also aware of my paraphrase of the old market maxim: “The market can stay insane much longer than you can stay solvent.”)

  5. Viktor says:

    Very weird that Blackstone and Adams should be on your list, as I was just citing Adams CITING Blackstone on another website. In Adams’ Rights of the Colonists, he says this:

    Magna Charta itself is in substance but a constrained declaration or proclamation and promulgation in the name of the King, Lords, and Commons, of the sense the latter had of their original, inherent, indefeasible natural rights, as also those of free citizens equally perdurable with the other. That great author, that great jurist, and even that court writer, Mr. Justice Blackstone, holds that this recognition was justly obtained of King John, sword in hand. And peradventure it must be one day, sword in hand, again rescued and preserved from total destruction and oblivion.

  6. Allen says:

    I’m up, he sees me, I’m down…zig zag…zig zag…I’m up, he sees me, I’m down…all the while providing cover fire/interlocking fields of fire, etc..

  7. Gayle says:

    Assault-rifle owners statewide are organizing a mass boycott of Gov. Cuomo’s new law mandating they register their weapons, daring officials to “come and take it away,” The Post has learned.

    Gun-range owners and gun-rights advocates are encouraging hundreds of thousands of owners to defy the law, saying it’d be the largest act of civil disobedience in state history.

    “I’ve heard from hundreds of people that they’re prepared to defy the law, and that number will be magnified by the thousands, by the tens of thousands, when the registration deadline comes,’’ said Brian Olesen, president of the American Shooters Supply, one of the largest gun dealers in the state.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/hit_us_with_your_best_shot_andy_5rxZg0gYBJJhkLBtiTPMfJ

    Good for them :)