When we are dealing with political “stuff”, there are three different things at play.

Rights. A right pre-exists us. Everybody has the right to be armed. Everybody has the right to speak freely. Everybody has the right to seek happiness. These rights are endowed by their Creator

Authority. Authority is permission to exercise some power.

Power. Power is the ability to do something.

As an example, the state has the power to imprison you. They do not have the right to do so. They may have been granted the authority, by The People, to do so.

Our Constitution does not grant us any rights. It does not give any power to the state. It authorizes the state to do some things. As part of that authorization, the state has gathered power to itself.

People are greedy. Anybody who claims we are not is likely lying to you or themselves, or both. Greed is not bad.

I want toys for the safe. I want toys for the shop. I want toys for the house. I want good food. I want good water.

There are 1000s of things I want. There are things that I need.

My greed makes me want to get the things I want.

I need to decide on what is the best way to get the things I want. I could decide to steal these things. This does not have a long term positive outcome.

Because I want, and because I need, I have to find a way to get money. I have decided that the best way for me to get money is to marry well, sell my skills to others, and sell things that I make.

When I am selling things that I make, I need to sell them at a price that will earn me a profit. The size of that profit is set by greed. If the price is too high, I will not be able to sell very many. If the price is too low, I will not be able to make enough profit. I want to find the price that generates enough profit and enough sales to make an overall profit that I’m happy with.

That is greed at work.

Unfortunately, greed also causes people to look for advantages. One of the easiest methods of getting an advantage is to change the rules such that you have some sort of advantage over others.

You are making a widget. You have been making widgets for years. You have a strong customer base and many return customers.

A new player comes into town and starts to manufacture widgets in competition with you. They are not making much headway, as your long-term efforts and excellent product keep people coming to you to purchase.

The new player decides that they need an advantage. They know there are potential safety issues with the widgets that they are making. It is easily mitigated by using a known procedure.

They go to the government and lobby to “Make Widgets Safer.” “Protect The Children From Bad Widgets!”. They get a new regulation passed which requires a compliance report on using the particular procedure in making widgets.

The government is now using a power they may not have the authority to use. Regardless, they do have the power. They have more power than you do.

You now have to hire a person to perform compliance reporting along with compliance testing. Your costs have now gone up to the point where your competitor’s price/quality is closer to yours, and they start to take customers from you.

The question then becomes, by what authority did the state impose that compliance regulation on you?

The state always has the power. When some purple haired whale yells that your penis replacement AR-15 isn’t going to stop the state, they are explicitly saying that the state has more power than you.

Their opinion is that the state should exercise that power to force you to do whatever it is they want you to do.

Save for your retirement? Yep, the state has the power to force that on you.

Pay for illegal aliens to have an education? Yep, the state has the power to force you to do that.

Buy car insurance? Yes, some individual states have forced you to purchase car insurance.

Buy health insurance? In a bill, we had to pass to know what was in it, the state did exactly that, they forced you to buy health insurance.

That is the exercise of power.

Does the state have the authority to do so? That is an entirely different question. You need to look at what the Constitution authorizes the state to do. What you find is that the lawyers have twisted small things to make it look like an authorization.

If you look at the original NFA, it was based on a tax. The state is authorized by Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States

This is the first of the enumerated authorizations. The state can tax just about anything they want.

But, their authorization to tax “just about anything” was modified in 1791 to exclude taxes on arms. …, the right of The People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. The word “infringed” means to “hinder”, thus a tax on keeping or bearing arms is an infringement and unconstitutional.

To conclude, we, The People, have rights and powers. The state has power but no rights.

Our rights are protected by different parts of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. The state is authorized by the Constitution to exercise some of its powers.

If the federal government is not authorized to exercise a power, that authorization goes back to the individual states and The People.

Do NOT let anybody claim that the state has “rights”, it does not. It has power. It is either exercising the power under the authority of the Constitution or it is abusing its powers.

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By awa

8 thoughts on “The Government has a right… Stop right there”
  1. Awa, let’s look at the history of the word “Greed”. It comes from the word Greedy which was applied to anyone who had an excessive unhealthy desire for more than they needed, Avarice is a synonym of Greed.
    I hear what you’re meaning Awa, but I believe the word which applies more correctly to what you’re meaning is “Desire” and more specifically, “a desire for what one needs today and in the future.” In other words, healthy desire to fulfill needs over a specific period of time.
    For instance, I want to make millions of dollars while I can so that when I can’t earn, I’ll be able to responsibly live. The word Greed does not apply in this case.
    I tried to find the oldest historical usages of the word Greed and came up with the historical meaning always being attached to an obsession for more than one will ever need, i.e. Greedy. I found no positive usages for the word.
    The Love of Money is the root of all evil. The word love in this N.T. passage comes from the Greek word Philarguria == to covet silver i.e. Avarice.
    Greed applies to individuals that after giving the matter of essential needs mature consideration desire to obtain more in order to be wealthy. To do so causes them to fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful cravings which are of such a nature as to drown men in destruction and perdition; for a root of all the evils is the excessive fondness for money, which certain ones, bending their every effort to grasp, have been led astray from moral existence and have pierced themselves through with many consuming griefs. 

  2. Article 5
    …; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

    States do have a right but only vis-a-vis other member States in the union.

    Spot on the power/authority explanation.

  3. I harp on this a LOT, but…
    “Everybody has the right to be armed.”
    Not exactly a right.
    You do have a fundamental human right of self protection against threats, but personal and political. And, carrying arms (firearms, stun guns, arrows, knives, Kung Fu, whatever…) is how you exercise that right. Anyone who tries to prevent you from being armed is restricting your right to self defense. It is no different than someone preventing you from practicing a religion, or speaking ones mind. Restrict the free exercise of a right, and you deny that individual their rights.
    It is a subtlety, but it does make arguments about guns being (or not being) a “right” moot. Who will say that one does not have a right to defend themselves and think their argument is valid? (Idiots and gun control advocates, but I repeat myself.)

  4. Another thought.
    In our democratic representative republic, the State (government) does not have “rights.” Because rights are inherent in humans, not organizations.
    However, everything you state goes out the window in a monarchy, or a dictatorship. When a single individual becomes the government, they do in fact have rights. (Questionable when those right are governing, but… pretend that God made that individual the Monarch.)
    If God granted us our rights as humans, that King also has rights granted by God.

  5. Excellent article. On the same theme, SF writer L. Neil Smith was known to point out two things about the “Bill of Rights”. First, that a more descriptive name would be “Bill of Prohibitions” because each article is actually a prohibition on the government doing certain things. (As Madison pointed out at the time, each of them is redundant because each of those prohibitions cover things that Article 1 Section 8 didn’t authorize to begin with. Of course, redundancy is often useful; engineers call it “fault tolerance”.)
    A second point was about the straw man question “at what age does the Bill of Rights start to apply?” — used as an excuse to deny rights to juveniles. His answer: the BoR doesn’t apply to you and me at all, nor to our children — it only applies to the Government, and it only talks about things the government shall NOT do. For example, it is not allowed to infringe on freedom of speech, and the age of the speaker is entirely irrelevant.

    On self defense, I like to point out that self defense is a natural right – ask any Amanita. (This is why “natural right” and not merely “human right” — the right is fundamental to the behavior of all living things.)

    1. With the exception of the 3r amendment which grants the authority to quarter troops in a house … according to whatever laws say it is to be done.
      The only Bill of Rights amendment that confers an authority to the FedGov not delegated in the articles.

  6. People in power….the “state”….have as much power as they can seize. If not stopped they will seize as much power is available to be had. People NOT in power have Rights. But the only Rights they actually have are those they are willing to fight for, die for, and most importantly KILL for. Because if you refuse to kill the people seeking to keep you from exercising your Rights they will do exactly that.

  7. Almost. You should read some books to get some excellent enlightenment theory on that.
    Thomas Paine: Common Sense
    John Locke: Two Treatises of Government
    Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

    James Madison and Montesquieu conceived the notion of separation of powers. Legitimate government, all of these men argued, only exists with the consent of the governed, meaning that poor and improper governance gave the people the authority to overthrow the ruling order through all possible means, even through outright violence and revolution, if necessary.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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