Essential Liberty-First Principles

02/05/2010 10:03

Principium Imprimis

If there is to be a peaceful transfer of liberty to our posterity, then we must return to principium imprimis, or First Principles.

Short of another American Revolution to remove by force those in government who do not abide by their oaths “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” our freedoms cannot long endure unless we, the people, reaffirm what was well understood by our Founders: that our Creator is the only eternal assurance of liberty.

The primacy of faith must be restored in order to preserve the conviction that, as Jefferson wrote, our “liberties are the gift of God”; traditional families and values must be restored as the foundation of our culture; individual rights and responsibilities must be restored as the underpinning of republican government; free enterprise must be unbridled from government constraints; and constitutional authority over each branch of government must be restored to ensure liberty, opportunity and prosperity for a civil society.

The Cycle of Democracy has been summarized as:

  • From bondage to spiritual faith;
  • From spiritual faith to great courage;
  • From courage to liberty (rule of law);
  • From liberty to abundance;
  • From abundance to complacency;
  • From complacency to apathy;
  • From apathy to dependance;
  • From dependence back into bondage (rule of men).


Our Founders established a democratic republic, not a democracy, in order to enfeeble this cycle. However, with the erosion of constitutional authority, our Republic is now in grave peril of following the same cycle as have all other democracies in history. Only intervention by citizens and leaders who advocate the primacy of constitutional authority, those committed to supporting and defending that authority above their self-interest, can save the Republic for the next generation.

Irrevocably linked to liberty ensured by constitutional Rule of Law is economic liberty. In 1916, a minister and outspoken advocate for liberty, William J. H. Boetcker, published a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots:

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  • You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.


Fact is, the central government cannot give to anybody what it does not first take from somebody else.

So what is a Patriot to do?

Some of our countrymen are overwhelmed with the current state of affairs. They have resigned to defeat and withdrawn from the fields of battle. In so doing, they betray the legacy of liberty extended to them by generations of Patriots who have pledged their “Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor.”

Of such resignation, Hamilton wrote, “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one!”

Franklin insisted, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Samuel Adams showed no sympathy for such retreat: “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say ‘what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' ... If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”

Patrick Henry said famously, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Plainly, none can claim the name “American Patriot” if they submit to laws and regulations, which violate the most fundamental tenets of our Constitution.

At its core, the word “patriot” has direct lineage to those who fought for American independence and established our constitutional Republic. That lineage has descended through our history most conspicuously by way of those who have pledged “to support and defend” our Constitution – those who have been faithful to and have abided by their oaths, even unto death.

Today, those who can rightly claim the name Patriot, those who have stood firm on the front lines of the struggle to restore constitutional integrity, be encouraged. There is a groundswell of activism across the Fruited Plain, as our fellow countrymen are awakening to the ominous threat of constitutional adulteration and its irrevocable terminus: tyranny.

The growing chorus of Patriot voices from every corner of the nation and all walks of life is demanding restoration of the Rule of Law as outlined by our Constitution.

Today's Patriots exemplify not only the eternal spirit of liberty conferred through the ages by previous generations of Patriots, but also a spirit enlivened in recent history by a conservative who spent much of his life as a Democrat (even heading a major union at one time).

That man became an outspoken conservative in reaction to the Democrat Party's increasing betrayal of our Constitution, declaring, “I didn't leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.”

He was elected president in 1980 on a platform of constitutional integrity and federalism, and he was devoted to that doctrine. He was re-elected on those principles four years later in a landslide victory – winning every state but his opponent's home state (and, of course, the District of Columbia).

His name was Ronald Wilson Reagan, and he delivered a treatise on liberty in 1964, “A Time for Choosing,” which to this day appositely frames conservative philosophy.

In “The Speech,” as we know it, Reagan insisted, “I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers. ... Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

He continued: “You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down – up to a man's age-old dream; the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order – or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.”

Some said President Reagan won broad support because he was a “great communicator,” but he said more accurately in his farewell address: “I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in principles that have guided us for two centuries.”

The principles of liberty advanced by President Reagan were, and remain, a template for victory over tyranny. But our legacy of liberty is at grave risk today. Indeed, we face another time for choosing.

While the words “conservative” and “liberal” are ubiquitously used to describe party alliances, these words more essentially describe whether one advocates the Rule of Law, or the rule of men; for the conservation of our Constitution as the Founders intended, or its liberal interpretation by “progressive” legislators and judicial activists.

It is time for each of us to choose which we advocate and to fully understand the consequences of that choice.

It is time for those of us who endorse the most basic tenets of our Republic, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” to honor that heritage and set about the formidable task of restoring individual liberty and constitutional limits upon the branches of our national government.

The futility of debating policy matters must now yield to a more substantive national debate about constitutional authority.

The time is at hand when we must inquire with a unified voice: “If there is no constitutional authority for laws and regulations enacted by Congress and enforced by the central government, then by what authority do those entities lay and collect taxes to fund such laws and regulations?”

On July 4th, 1776, our Declaration of Independence, this nation's supreme manuscript of incorporation, asserted, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...”

Our Declaration's principal author, Thomas Jefferson, also wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”

While one prays that liberty will be restored and extended to our posterity without spirited rebellion, history does not favor such prospects.

At present, our Constitution is in virtual exile, and the central government is in the hands of those who believe they are the arbiters of liberty, rather than its endowment by our Creator.

It is time for tenacious resistance and rebellion against the current thrones of government. This is not a call for revolution but for restoration – to undertake whatever measures are dictated by prudence and necessity to restore constitutional Rule of Law.

Ronald Reagan said, “There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. ... You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

Which will it be?

Fellow Patriots, I implore you to make no peace with oppression, and I leave you with these words of encouragement from the Father of our Nation, George Washington: “We should never despair. Our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times.”

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