The Anatomy of Sovereignty
“To be informed is to be vigilant!” So says the sloganeer. Vigilance is also Mr. Limbaugh’s forte. To hear Rush one is easily swayed to accept his claim that some 40 million people listen to him, almost all, presumably, because they agree with his views. Yet that majority has not translated into constitutional victory. In spite of all that vigilance, our nation’s ramparts are breached and our sentinels’ trenches are choked with debris and refuse. Everywhere the fires of discontent are ashing the fabric of our national identity. Moral and institutional decay are rampant, depravity is become a standard of accomplishment, and arrogance, the face of ignorance, is become the center display on our nation’s escutcheon. Our Constitution, except for the Scriptures, is the only document assailed by men, especially by those who “registered in Heaven a solemn oath to preserve, protect, and defend it.” All this, because God, Whom the Founding Fathers called “Author of Liberty,” is spurned, rejected, and vilified. We have now lost our greatness and our graciousness, lost them, because we have lost, or at least are losing, our freedom, the underpinning of graciousness. We now are at the brink of oblivion and it seems that only a slight nudge could sweep us into extinction as a free people.
On April 19, 1775, a “shot heard around the world” announced the birth of a new nation and America entered the commonwealth of nations. On April 19, 1783 her membership was confirmed, but on April 19, 1993, another shot, this one heard at Waco, extinguished her beacon and she left the commonwealth of nations. Only ten and a half score plus eight years is all she endured. No nation before her, ever, achieved such pinnacle of power, greatness, and blessing and it is highly unlikely that, while under the auspices of human authority, any nation after her ever will. How was it possible that a once so great nation had breath for such a brief time only?
The answer, in terms of application only, is simple - deception and ignorance. Ignorance paves the way for deception which then amplifies it and ignorance thus embellished separates a people from its heritage, atrophies its soul, destroys its greatness, and finally subverts its calling. But what deception? Misunderstanding the relation between cause and effect! Everything in our world is either cause or effect, but it is cause that secures effect, for without it there can be no effect. Therefore, protecting the effect inverses the relationship between cause and effect and in time will destroy both. By way of introduction, we should note that freedom is a result, an effect, and by defocusing from its cause, both, freedom and freedom’s cause will be destroyed. This is irrevocable! It is inalienable! I know this to be so! I saw it with my own eyes - saw it during the brutal days of Nazism, when I grew up in the dark shadow of that monster’s nimbus.
Last year, in the summer of 1999, in The Economist magazine, Michael Bellesiles, history professor at Emory University, alleges to have researched 11,000 colonial wills (1765 to 1850) and found that almost none makes mention of firearms in any of its provisions. From this he concludes that the notion of an armed-to-the-teeth Colonial America is a myth - a myth spread by the NRA. Apparently every major newspaper in the State of California, if not the nation, published his finding. For Charlton Heston, NRA’s president, read it and in his President’s Column in the November/December issue of the American Rifleman he comments. The paucity of references to firearms in ancient wills is a reflection of the ancients’ mistrust of government, that mistrust being the real essence and the true purpose of the Second Amendment. So believes Mr. Heston.
It was, when reading his comments that I realized for the first time that Americans, born in this country, do not know the real essence and the true purpose of the Second Amendment. For Mr. Heston is sadly mistaken. These Americans were not afraid of their government nor did they mistrust it and, moreover, governmental ignorance concerning gun ownership does not define the real essence and the true purpose of that most euphoric provision in our Constitution. On the contrary! This government always knew the American people were armed and it was this knowledge that blessed them for nearly 200 years with a civil and obedient government. No other people, ever, has been so blessed!
What then made this people so unique? To glean the reason for it we must understand society, its ingredients and its functions. When the Almighty, Author of Liberty, authorized the legal taking of human life for egregious and predacious acts, He brought into being Society and structured it with two components - people and government, in that order, for government is an outgrowth of the people. Therefore, the people, the greater, should have dominion over government, the lesser. But Apollyon with his demon horde crossed the river Styx, bivouacked among the hearts of man, and, blurring his vision, wreaking havoc with his institutions, plunged human kind into malignant darkness that has lasted to this day. In one place only suffered he defeat. In one place only were his minions crushed. Here, on these shores, his rage was caged, because here men with incredible courage brought forth a nation under God where for the first and only time in all the annals of mankind the people were sovereign over their own government.
For this is how He had intended it to be. Because when the greater is sovereign over the lesser, the accompanying discipline such rulership demands is based on love, devotion, compassion, and respect; but when the lesser is sovereign over the greater, the same discipline is then based on total contempt. There is a choice then. Either people are sovereign and government is servant or government is sovereign and people are servant - there is no other choice. In the former, sovereignty is legitimate and in the latter it is illegitimate.
And that brings us to the question: “How does a people become sovereign?” How does a people become “the rightful master of its own government?” You cannot simply write it on a piece of paper nor can you shout it from the mountaintops! Nor proclaim it by insistence? Even if we were arrayed clearly into pro-sovereignites against anti-sovereignites and in battle expunged all enemies of sovereignty from our society, within weeks, after the euphoria of victory had dissipated, we would still not be sovereign. To discover then what sovereignty is and, therefore, how it works we need to understand its make-up.
Sovereignty, we must realize, has four components all of which are coterminous, but, fortunately, have a philosophical chronology. Understanding that chronology will help us see how people become sovereign and, therefore, also how they can cease to be sovereign. Let us realize one more thing before we continue. Sovereignty’s constituents are the same whether it is legitimate or illegitimate. Here, for the purpose of this discussion, I mean legitimate sovereignty - sovereignty when the people have dominion over their government, when they are its legal and rightful master.
Legitimate sovereignty then is based on legitimate authority. Legitimate authority is enforced by legitimate power. Legitimate power is reinforced by legitimate force of arms. Legitimate force of arms derives from a legitimate right to be armed and for a right to be armed to be legitimate it must be accepted to be God-, not man-given. In reverse then, it is the acceptance that the right to be armed is God-given which will make that right legitimate. Such a right will then produce legitimate force of arms. Legitimate force of arms leads to legitimate power, legitimate power yields legitimate authority, legitimate authority establishes legitimate sovereignty, and it is legitimate sovereignty that makes you free. Freedom then is a result - a result of sovereignty. Therefore, freedom has no direct nexus to the Second Amendment. Such a connection exists only between sovereignty and the inalienable right to be armed. We can see then that to be free you must be sovereign and to be sovereign you need not own firearms, but you need the inalienable right to keep and bear them.
Here we must define and digress before we continue. God-given, or if you prefer inalienable, defines a natural condition - birds fly, fishes swim, water is wet, fire is hot, and Americans keep and bear arms. Now we can see that the Swiss people, heavily armed, are not free, because their right to be armed is man-given. And freedom is neither permission nor perverted illusion, it is that condition in a society where the individual’s decision making process is so unencumbered as not to require his neighbor’s nor his government’s permission for action.
Such freedom results in indescribable graciousness in both joy and adversity. During the surrender ceremony at Saratoga in 1777, where British General Burgoyne surrendered his entire army to General Gates, that graciousness was displayed before the entire world. There the Colonials were so choked up with compassion for their fallen foe that they could not watch, causing one British soldier to wonder “if we were not looking at a new species of humans.” And so it was again, four score and six years later, when brother had fought brother on the third day at Gettysburg and 4000 rebels entered Union captivity after Pickett’s charge had failed. There their guards saw their dignity and became convinced “that these were fine gentlemen and that it would be a pleasure to meet with them after the war.” They “had no desire to exult over these captives and were moved, instead, with pity and compassion.” And yet again, four score and two years after that, when, only 9 years and 9 days old at war’s end on May 9th, 1945, I saw Americans, GIs, for the first time, gracious each and every one of them. Then one of them, moved with compassion, offered me chocolate, a gift to me, while the Nazi anthem was still echoing through my mind. Let no one then hug the notion that these Americans were not a gracious people. They were indeed.
And finally, we must remember that a result, an effect, cannot be preserved or protected by guarding it. To preserve an effect you have to protect its cause, and freedom’s cause is sovereignty. Here then we see NRA’s, GOC’s, and every other anti-gun control advocate’s mistake - a mistake that has brought us to the very brink of oblivion - because they seek to stand guard over freedom, when they should stand guard over sovereignty.
This is what has happened to America, standing guard over freedom rather than sovereignty! And the American people were blind. But the adversaries of light were not! More than a hundred years ago these death merchants began to marshal their awesome forces to destroy the Yankee Spirit. In 1931, Arnold Toynbee, member of the financial elite, distills their rapacity saying that “.this mysterious force called ‘sovereignty’ must be wrested from the clutches of the nations of the world.” In America only did they miscalculate. They had failed to realize that, unlike in the rest of the world where governments are masters and the people servants, here the people were the master, rightful master, and government was servant. Not until the early 1960’s did these predators begin to correct their error. They, like any prudent adversary, knew and the American people did not and with few, very few, exceptions still don’t. Having been duped to guard freedom rather than sovereignty, freedom’s source, has engulfed us now in total darkness and swept us, as a free people, into near extinction. It is furiously enraging that something so fundamental should be so beyond understanding. The result alone should have been sufficient to alert even the simplest that something is wrong. When you stand in the rain and find yourself getting wet, even the most challenged will comprehend in time that to remain standing there will not make you dry. Yet for the last nearly forty years this is precisely what we, in defense of our Amendment, have done, and have done time and time again.
If I sound harsh, forgive me. I do not mean to be. But we are talking about the most important, the most beautiful country on earth. Mine! When I came to these shores, I came here to give. I did not come here to take. I did not come here to be made safe. I came here above all to be free. And now the old monster is lairing on America’s soil, a monster of incredible ferocity. I know of its ferocity, for I have smelt its foul breath, have heard its awesome roar, and have felt its clammy touch. If left unchallenged, it will devour us. Fortunately, it has a weakness and that is our sovereignty, not our freedom. However, for decades now we sought to “preserve freedom”, but, instead of bringing deliverance, it only brought destruction and no one seems to have noticed.
The cause, the fountainhead, of our blessings, greatness, privilege, power, wealth, and world-wide influence then is the God-given right to be armed, our Second Amendment. It has two immediate results - sovereignty on the one hand and gun ownership on the other and it is the latter that is freedom’s Achilles’ heel. Now, nearly 40 years ago, in the early ‘60’s, gun-control madness left its malignant imprint on our national character by focusing on gun ownership, a result. Only then did Apollyon overcome our founding fathers’ bulwark and unloose his rage upon America and this time the American people accepted the invitation and began their dance with the devil.
This then is the anatomy of freedom’s destruction. Focusing on guns produced two results. One, it eliminated millions of Americans from the debate, because they do not own firearms, and, two, it allowed the classifying of all arms into two categories by actually defining only one. It is the latter that is crucial. For by invoking the “Law of the Unspoken Words,” people can be controlled with their own consent. This is how it is accomplished. By declaring certain arms as assault arms and by making no further declaration, the human mind will, of its own, conclude that the assault arms are “bad” and the others are “good.” By coming to this conclusion on its own, the brain converts it into a brainchild and, as any child, this child then becomes an object of affection. And an object of affection will be defended to the utmost.
This leads to a third and final step and again the “Law of the Unspoken Words” must be invoked: assault arms are declared to be banned. Again, when no further declaration is made, banning construes this portion of arms to be “bad” and the remainder to be “good” and, therefore, not banned. Again the same defense mechanism engorges the mind. It is this last transformation that has prevented the American people from focusing on what has really happened here. The word “BANNED” has a synonym that cannot readily be used in this country. It is the word “FORBIDDEN.” It can be used here only sparingly, because, for whatever reasons, Americans still consider themselves to be free and you just do not forbid a free people! You can forbid children, but you cannot forbid adults. But even this is a subterfuge. The forbidden portion of arms is a relatively small part of the whole. It is the remainder, the “ALLOWED” portion, which is dominant here. It is by far the larger part and this is how a free people can be controlled with its own consent - by ALLOWING, not by FORBIDDING. It is the legerdemain of the snake charmer who with one hand distracts the cobra while with the other he snares it before it can strike. This is how government robs the people of their sovereignty and usurps the authority vested in them, for it is the peoples’ prerogative to ALLOW and to FORBID.
Let us, then, remember that to be armed is much more than our Constitutional right. It is our God-given right and the evidence of our sovereignty.
If we hope to ever restore America to her former greatness, a greatness she still is able to display, we must refocus on our SOVEREIGNTY and thereby reinclude many of those Americans that felt unaffected until now. Part of that refocusing must involve the recognition that the majority of those instrumental in the destruction of our country is terribly confused, horribly misled, and not necessarily motivated by a hatred toward this country or even toward us, but instead is motivated by a desire to prevent harm and to secure the best possible good for the greatest number of people. Most of them suffer from a sickening conviction that it is God’s intent for governments, all governments, the lesser, to be caretakers of the people, the greater. That this converts people into children of the state is a worthwhile transformation for them and that this motivation has historically brought nothing but destruction is only temporary as far as they are concerned and, therefore, inconsequential - a necessary sacrifice to make until we all “see the light.”
If we are unsuccessful here, the sacrifice wrought by America’s long gray line that always served this country so well will have been in vain and all will be lost. It would be sad indeed, if those having given their last full measure of devotion under fire and attuned to the strange murmur of battle should hear no bugle call that would summon them to do battle one more time so that we, who are left behind and resting on their sacrifice, could taste our heritage.
Body and Soul American (May 2000)