The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Andrew Napolitano ArchiveBlogview
What if Liberty Is Attached to Humanity?
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments

What if the Declaration of Independence states that the purpose of government is to protect our natural rights? What if natural rights are the freedoms we enjoy without neighbors or strangers or government interfering? What if those freedoms are listed in part in the Bill of Rights? What if the government is supposed to keep its hands off those freedoms because they are ours, we have not surrendered them and we have hired the government to protect them?

What if the reason some of our rights are listed in the Bill of Rights was the fear the colonists had after the American Revolution that the new government here might become as destructive of freedom as the British king and Parliament — whose government they had just kicked out — were before the Revolution? What if it is impossible to list completely the freedoms that all people enjoy by reason of our humanity? What if the Framers — who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — understood that?

What if, in order to address the impossibility of listing all rights, the Framers ratified the Ninth Amendment? What if the Ninth Amendment declares that the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people? What if this amendment was the Framers’ way of recognizing the inherent attachment of our personal liberties to our individual humanity?

What if the government is supposed to protect those liberties — the ones that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and the others that are too numerous to enumerate and are covered by the Ninth Amendment?

What if the government — no matter which party controls the White House or Congress — always claims that it is protecting personal freedoms? What if this is just an empty boast? What if there is a government within the government that never changes, never shrinks, answers only to itself, hates and fears personal freedoms, and is largely unrecognized by the Constitution?

What if that government, because of its secrecy, is largely unaccountable to the voters? What if it resides in the Federal Reserve, the military, federal law enforcement and intelligence establishments, and an enormous federal bureaucracy that regulates and spends in secret to a greater extent every year, no matter which party is in control?

What if the secret government commands the loyalty of the elected government by sharing secrets with it? What if the law requires those shared secrets to be kept secret? What if the elected government knows what the secret government is up to but cannot legally reveal it? What if members of Congress know why Hillary Clinton was not indicted but they learned it in secret and so cannot legally reveal it? What if members of Congress know the extent of the Donald Trump financial shell game but they learned that in secret and so cannot reveal it?

What if some personal courage has broken this mold? What if Edward Snowden revealed massive secret government spying on all Americans after the government had denied it? What if Sen. Dianne Feinstein revealed horrific torture by the federal government after the government had denied it? What if the elected government knew about the spying and the torture but was legally prevented from revealing it? What if Hillary Clinton was largely right when she said politicians have a public persona and a private persona? What if President Barack Obama has demonstrated his two sides by killing people in secret, with his undeclared wars, and denying it in public?

What if the interest rate you pay on your home mortgage or car loan is not established by the free market — or even reached by bankers looking for your business — but is fixed in private by the secret government? What if the secret government has decided that it prefers Clinton to succeed President Obama and so its agents in law enforcement will overlook all evidence of Clinton’s lawbreaking in order to bring that about? What if the secret government has given Trump an enormous pass on his financial behavior, a pass unavailable to the average voter, and it needs to keep that secret?

What if government has no interest in personal freedom, except perhaps as a catchy phrase around which to rally support? What if government nurtures having foreign adversaries — real and imagined — so that it has an excuse, in repelling or resisting those enemies, to exercise unlawful powers?

What if the presidential election this year has become a beauty contest — devoid of intellectual substance, without serious debate over the limited duties of government in a constitutional democracy, rolling in the gutter and largely motivated by hate and fear? What if both Clinton and Trump recognize the paradox that government is essentially the negation of personal liberty? What if whoever wins will largely use it for that purpose?

What if liberty really is attached to humanity? What if all rational people yearn for personal freedom? What if the government — in order to stay in power — has detached liberty from humanity and made it a gift of the state instead of a gift of God? What if government knows that by restricting and then expanding liberty, it can command loyalty?

What if there is a sense of hopelessness in the land? What if this hopelessness is bred by a government that kills, lies, steals, conceals and denies? What if that hopelessness is furthered by a rational fear that things will only get worse, no matter who wins the presidential election? What do we do about it?

Copyright 2016 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Constitutional Theory 
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
    []
  1. hbm says:

    What if the answer is to affect the posture of insipid, naive, and holier-than-thou Libertarian ideologue while masturbating in the ozone of self-congratulatory and self-inflicted political impotence?

    What if open borders would lead America to become a third-world hellhole in which brown people couldn’t care less about Whitey’s high-flown, purportedly natural and universal Rights and ideals, even if they are Catholics?

    What if this is the last column I read by Napalitano since he refuses to put declamatory sentences into them?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /anapolitano/what-if-liberty-is-attached-to-humanity/#comment-1615130
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. Anonymous says:

    What if liberty really is attached to humanity? What if all rational people yearn for personal freedom?

    Those aren’t claims to be made en passant.
    Who are “humanity”? The “rational people” or the other 98% of primates categorized as humans?

    What is a “rational person” like?

    This apart, an agreeable outburst.

    Read More
  3. What if all rational people yearn for personal freedom?

    Setting aside that all people are not necessarily rational, a yearning does not mean that one is willing to pay the price for the yearned thing.

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    - John Adams .

    It was a close-run thing from the start.

    Guided by an overblown romanticism on the part of some, and greed on the part of others, we have shifted the population and balance of voters in this country to a point that the Constitution cannot function. Note well that it has been years since we had a budget or declared a war, yet we spend and invade.

    Interesting times.

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith


    What if all rational people yearn for personal freedom?
     
    Setting aside that all people are not necessarily rational, a yearning does not mean that one is willing to pay the price for the yearned thing.
     
    And "setting aside" the fact that "all people" being rational or not-rational is irrelevant to the initial premise? ;-)

    Guided by an overblown romanticism on the part of some, and greed on the part of others, we have shifted the population and balance of voters in this country to a point that the Constitution cannot function.
     
    Somewhat true, although "overblown romanticism" goes a bit afield. Besides, the Constitution is a written document outlining some founding principles, but most of it is about the structure of government. Thus, "function" is inapplicable to "founding principles", as the government we have produced is dysfunctional. Sure, we could use a brief, bloody revolution and a new Constitution -- a good dose of salts -- but the "founding principles", while still holding merit, need re-stating in a modern context.

    No part of the Constitution supports any part of the government in place today, and vice versa.
  4. Is liberty really attached to humanity?

    Isn’t that a rhetorical question best asked after successful revolution? Then answered with formulaic paeans by the newly-corrected media cohort?

    Mebbe it’s time that propositional essays put forth argument instead of lofty, unrealistic, and unrealizable ideals? Or, perhaps the yin/yang of plan versus implementation should be approached from a standpoint of the desirability of “life as a system of balanced ethics”?

    I dunno. I’m getting tired of all the “To the barricades, citizens!” talk, and no action.

    It’s clobbering time.

    Read More
  5. What do we do about it?

    There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

    We are not yet on that full sea, but government will eventually overplay its hand.

    In my opinion this will lead to a war so destructive that it will sweep the established order aside and a lot of the population with it. Until then survival is the byword.

    Read More
  6. @another fred

    What if all rational people yearn for personal freedom?
     
    Setting aside that all people are not necessarily rational, a yearning does not mean that one is willing to pay the price for the yearned thing.

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
    - John Adams .

     

    It was a close-run thing from the start.

    Guided by an overblown romanticism on the part of some, and greed on the part of others, we have shifted the population and balance of voters in this country to a point that the Constitution cannot function. Note well that it has been years since we had a budget or declared a war, yet we spend and invade.

    Interesting times.

    What if all rational people yearn for personal freedom?

    Setting aside that all people are not necessarily rational, a yearning does not mean that one is willing to pay the price for the yearned thing.

    And “setting aside” the fact that “all people” being rational or not-rational is irrelevant to the initial premise? ;-)

    Guided by an overblown romanticism on the part of some, and greed on the part of others, we have shifted the population and balance of voters in this country to a point that the Constitution cannot function.

    Somewhat true, although “overblown romanticism” goes a bit afield. Besides, the Constitution is a written document outlining some founding principles, but most of it is about the structure of government. Thus, “function” is inapplicable to “founding principles”, as the government we have produced is dysfunctional. Sure, we could use a brief, bloody revolution and a new Constitution — a good dose of salts — but the “founding principles”, while still holding merit, need re-stating in a modern context.

    No part of the Constitution supports any part of the government in place today, and vice versa.

    Read More
  7. need re-stating in a modern context.

    I think that would be about as profitable as trying to teach a jackass to sing Grand Opera.

    Demography is destiny.

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    Demography is destiny.
     
    A treasured catchphrase of idiots.
  8. Jason Liu says:

    What if social organization for collective interests is more important than any yearning for liberty, regardless of how its defined?

    What if liberty is what allows problem elements to gain disproportionate amounts of influence within society, thereby destroying that society over time?

    What if liberty is only a luxury afforded by those who live in societies safe enough to contemplate such abstractions?

    What if that luxury is a consequence of strength, wealth and inequality forged through centuries of illiberal policies, not the other way around?

    What if the whole purpose of civilization is to move beyond mere liberty into greater and more efficient forms of structuring demographics?

    At some point the western world will have to reconcile its 18th century idealism with reality instead of pretending their values are the end of history. Now would be a good time to start.

    Read More
    • Replies: @another fred

    At some point the western world will have to reconcile its 18th century idealism with reality instead of pretending their values are the end of history.
     
    At some point?

    Point implies (and you seem to argue) that there is some locus of reality to which we should attach ourselves. While that kind of thinking is typical of humanity, it is certainly not an example of the best of oriental thought (which you seem to claim to champion).

    What if the Tao is not stasis but evolution?

    What if the Tao is such that there is the more rebellious nature of the West opposed to the more ordered nature of the East so that evolution occurs in the space between?

    What if the future of humanity would be Orwell's boot in the face except for the yang of the rebellious?

    Evolution has brought us this far, forgive me, but I will trust what it brings and not accept your "point".
    , @John Jeremiah Smith

    What if the whole purpose of civilization is to move beyond mere liberty into greater and more efficient forms of structuring demographics?
     
    Civilization has no purpose.

    What if liberty is only a luxury afforded by those who live in societies safe enough to contemplate such abstractions?
     
    You confuse concept and implementation.
    , @jtgw
    Don't confuse the nation with the state.

    https://mises.org/library/nations-consent-decomposing-nation-state-0
  9. @Jason Liu
    What if social organization for collective interests is more important than any yearning for liberty, regardless of how its defined?

    What if liberty is what allows problem elements to gain disproportionate amounts of influence within society, thereby destroying that society over time?

    What if liberty is only a luxury afforded by those who live in societies safe enough to contemplate such abstractions?

    What if that luxury is a consequence of strength, wealth and inequality forged through centuries of illiberal policies, not the other way around?

    What if the whole purpose of civilization is to move beyond mere liberty into greater and more efficient forms of structuring demographics?

    At some point the western world will have to reconcile its 18th century idealism with reality instead of pretending their values are the end of history. Now would be a good time to start.

    At some point the western world will have to reconcile its 18th century idealism with reality instead of pretending their values are the end of history.

    At some point?

    Point implies (and you seem to argue) that there is some locus of reality to which we should attach ourselves. While that kind of thinking is typical of humanity, it is certainly not an example of the best of oriental thought (which you seem to claim to champion).

    What if the Tao is not stasis but evolution?

    What if the Tao is such that there is the more rebellious nature of the West opposed to the more ordered nature of the East so that evolution occurs in the space between?

    What if the future of humanity would be Orwell’s boot in the face except for the yang of the rebellious?

    Evolution has brought us this far, forgive me, but I will trust what it brings and not accept your “point”.

    Read More
  10. @another fred

    need re-stating in a modern context.
     
    I think that would be about as profitable as trying to teach a jackass to sing Grand Opera.

    Demography is destiny.

    Demography is destiny.

    A treasured catchphrase of idiots.

    Read More
    • Replies: @another fred

    “Idiot - A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot's activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but "pervades and regulates the whole." He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.” Bierce
     
    I'm in the ruling class? Who knew?
  11. @Jason Liu
    What if social organization for collective interests is more important than any yearning for liberty, regardless of how its defined?

    What if liberty is what allows problem elements to gain disproportionate amounts of influence within society, thereby destroying that society over time?

    What if liberty is only a luxury afforded by those who live in societies safe enough to contemplate such abstractions?

    What if that luxury is a consequence of strength, wealth and inequality forged through centuries of illiberal policies, not the other way around?

    What if the whole purpose of civilization is to move beyond mere liberty into greater and more efficient forms of structuring demographics?

    At some point the western world will have to reconcile its 18th century idealism with reality instead of pretending their values are the end of history. Now would be a good time to start.

    What if the whole purpose of civilization is to move beyond mere liberty into greater and more efficient forms of structuring demographics?

    Civilization has no purpose.

    What if liberty is only a luxury afforded by those who live in societies safe enough to contemplate such abstractions?

    You confuse concept and implementation.

    Read More
  12. @John Jeremiah Smith

    Demography is destiny.
     
    A treasured catchphrase of idiots.

    “Idiot – A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot’s activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but “pervades and regulates the whole.” He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.” Bierce

    I’m in the ruling class? Who knew?

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    I’m in the ruling class? Who knew?
     
    Now that you know, when you think back, it kinda explains a lot of things, doesn't it?

    FYI, demography is not destiny.
  13. @another fred

    “Idiot - A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot's activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but "pervades and regulates the whole." He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.” Bierce
     
    I'm in the ruling class? Who knew?

    I’m in the ruling class? Who knew?

    Now that you know, when you think back, it kinda explains a lot of things, doesn’t it?

    FYI, demography is not destiny.

    Read More
  14. jtgw says:
    @Jason Liu
    What if social organization for collective interests is more important than any yearning for liberty, regardless of how its defined?

    What if liberty is what allows problem elements to gain disproportionate amounts of influence within society, thereby destroying that society over time?

    What if liberty is only a luxury afforded by those who live in societies safe enough to contemplate such abstractions?

    What if that luxury is a consequence of strength, wealth and inequality forged through centuries of illiberal policies, not the other way around?

    What if the whole purpose of civilization is to move beyond mere liberty into greater and more efficient forms of structuring demographics?

    At some point the western world will have to reconcile its 18th century idealism with reality instead of pretending their values are the end of history. Now would be a good time to start.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    And don't confuse the nation with the Patria.


    "Real Patriotism" is love of the Patria: the land, its people and their customs.
  15. @jtgw
    Don't confuse the nation with the state.

    https://mises.org/library/nations-consent-decomposing-nation-state-0

    And don’t confuse the nation with the Patria.

    “Real Patriotism” is love of the Patria: the land, its people and their customs.

    Read More
  16. Judge, just an observation on writing style: This “what if” style you’ve chosen to use more frequently is very annoying and makes for a forgettable article. Your earlier style of writing was much better.

    Read More
Current Commenter says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Andrew Napolitano Comments via RSS
PastClassics
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.