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What a difference 223 years makes. Our Founding Fathers valued freedom. So much so they enshrined individual rights in our Constitution. At least they thought they did. Turns out the Anti-Federalists were right. Our government has completely eviscerated any of the rights we once held dear.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Well, let's see. We have a State Religion now. Tolerance. Led of course by the High Priests of Homosexuality, where the agenda is compulsory approval. What they label "equality" is in fact totalitarianism. Reject the Rainbow Flag and you're guilty of "discrimination", then ostracized and marginalized. Sooner or later homosexuality will be compulsory, with penalties for non-compliance. If you don't believe me, check out the brouhaha in Trans Francisco over the heretofore unpublished "right" to parade around in the altogether while out in public.
Rights which are enumerated are jettisoned in favor of invented "rights". Because the new stuff is cool, and what did a bunch of dead white guys really know anyway?
But we still have Free Speech, right? Ask Mark Basseley Youssef about that one. He's currently doing a year of hard time for making Dear Leader look bad in front of his Arab friends.
Wanna peaceably assemble? You need a permit for that. And don't you dare conduct bible study in your own home, that's a zoning violation.
Petition your government? Write the EPA and find yourself on the terrorist watch list. Protest anywhere near Dear Leader or one of his henchmen, that's now a felony. Your government doesn't want to hear from you. Not unless you've got a friend on K Street and a blank check made out to "Re-election Fund". Then they'll pretend to care.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Sigh. We're now in a race to see which politician can top Mike Bloomberg and ban the most guns. And the U.N. is ready to pounce too, as Dear Leader assures them he'll ratify their execrable Small Arms Treaty. That's the one which makes every gun ever made illegal to own. Except for the authorities, who can always be trusted to use guns with care and treat citizens with the utmost respect. Really.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Here at least we're still on solid ground. I think.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
James Madison could never have imagined the TSA. Not in his wildest dreams. Their mission statement is unreasonable search and seizure. And we line up like sheep to subject ourselves to pointless degradation. Nevermind lesser atrocities like sobriety checkpoints, photo id to buy Sudafed, aerial surveillance for zoning violations, and my personal favorite, the recycling police.
Then there's the travesty of no-knock raids as the War on Drugs makes a mockery of any semblance of probable cause and the other supposed protections we used to enjoy. Add in the guilty-until-proven-innocent aspects of recent copyright law and the only place you'll find the Fourth Amendment today is on the side of a milk carton.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without just compensation.
The Fifth Amendment is no match for Dear Leader's NDAA. Indefinite detention, if Janet Incompetano decides you're a terrorist. And clever prosecutors found the perfect way to circumvent the prohibition against Double Jeopardy — civil rights violations. You aren't being accused of committing a crime, you're being accused of violating a designated victim group's civil rights while (perhaps not) committing that crime. Because, you know, you're a racist.
Then, let's ask the IRS about that you can't be a witness against yourself thing. I'm pretty sure they're still laughing about it. As for taking property without "just compensation", merely reading Kelo v. New Haven makes my brain hurt. Throw in byzantine zoning laws, New Jersey's Highlands Act, or those new civil forfeiture laws (drive drunk? lose your car!) and it's obvious our citizens don't care very much about private property or personal liberty anymore.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Spend a night in traffic court. You don't have the right to a jury of your peers. You have the right to pay up. Or the right to get lectured by the judge and then pay up. And the nature and cause of your accusation is quite fungible, plea bargains being the norm, it's the dollar amount of the fine which drives the entire process. Yup, legalized extortion by agents of the State. I'm pretty sure Mr. Madison wasn't in favor of that, but he's not here to see how the nanny state has perverted his life's work.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Suits, smoots. We've got regulations. And regulators. What they say goes! You were in violation before you were born. They're here to exact punishment, and any hope you might have for judicial review stops at the Administrative Law Judge whose salary depends on him finding you guilty.
Oh, and that binding arbitration clause in every credit card agreement and shrink-wrapped software licensing fine print. Yeah it's definitely what the Seventh Amendment is all about. And DMCA takedowns? Sadly our Constitution is no match for the lobbyists of the RIAA and MPAA.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Never have so few words been so misconstrued. In 1789 they hanged horse thieves. Today you can't get the death penalty for shooting a cop at point blank range or for luring a 12 year old girl to her death so you can steal her bicycle. But if Dear Leader wants to drop a drone on your ass? Yeah your rights just went up in smoke.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Yes, it will. Just ask the EPA. Or the DEA, FDA, CIA, or FAA. You have no rights. Unless you're a member of a Designated Minority Group. Then your rights trump everyone else's.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Good luck finding any shred of the Tenth Amendment left. I think Chief Justice Roberts uses it for toilet paper. He certainly has never read it.
I wonder what they were thinking, 233 years ago on that late November day, when the New Jersey State Legislature ratified these ten amendments. I suspect they felt good for themselves, congratulating one another on striking a balance between oppressive government and individual liberty.
Yet here we are, living in a shadow world, where liberty is almost a dirty word. Our public schools enforce conformity, elevating the imagined needs of our collective citizenry above the sanctified right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness enshrined in this once hallowed document. Nameless, faceless bureaucrats compel adherence to voluminous reams of arbitrary regulations — make one false move and your life is ruined.
You can't grow your own food or milk your own cow or eat your own pigs. You can't build the house of your dreams on the land your great-grandfather cleared with his bare hands. And you'd better not tinker with the engine in your car or the wiring in your walls or move the stones in your garden. You'll use the light bulbs the government tells you to use. You'll send your children to the school the government tells you to send them to. You'll feed them a government-approved lunch and if you give your child an unusual name the government will decide you're unfit for parenthood. It takes a village. Or so they say.
The Bill of Rights. It was fun while it lasted. Alas our Founding Fathers are no match for the modern police / nanny / regulatory state. America surrendered her Liberty for the promise of security. The government will take care of you — cradle to grave! — just don't worry your pretty little head about personal responsibility. Here, watch American Idol or Real Housewives, and leave the governing to your enlightened betters.
Vote Democrat! It's easier than having to think (or fend) for yourself.
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