Monday, September 22, 2003

Robert Greenslade writes about citizenship in his piece entitled Did the Fourteenth Amendment make the American People Citizens of the Federal Government?

"In recent years, it has been asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment diluted or abrogated State citizenship by making the American people citizens of the federal government..."

Actually according to North Carolina's Constitution we are to consider ourselves citizens of the U.S. first & foremost, reserving no state loyalty that may supercede loyalty to the federal government.

Article 1 Section 5: Allegiance to the United States. Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.

Also there's a prohibition against secession.

Article 1 Section 4: Secession prohibited. This State shall ever remain a member of the American Union; the people thereof are part of the American nation; there is no right on the part of this State to secede; and all attempts, from whatever source or upon whatever pretext, to dissolve this Union or to sever this;, Nation, shall be resisted with the whole power of the State.

It also deals with civilian possession of firearms.

Article 1 Section 30: Militia and the right to bear arms. 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; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty. they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.

These were instituted in the North Carolina Constitutions written after the War of Nor-thun Aggresion, the most current one being ratified in 1971. You will not find the first two provisions in the North Carolina Constitution of 1776. You will find somethign similar to the thrid (Art.1 Sec. 30) but not quite the same.
From the NC Constitution of 1776:

XVII. That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and, as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Notice the difference? Two actually: the most apparent being the lack of a prohibition on concealed carry & the other is a justification for the bearing of arms as a defense of the state.

Now without me waxing poetic about the evils of Lincoln & what reconstruction did to the South, I will tell you that despite very reasoned arguments to the contrary, some things being written in a constitution should not be followed.

The main argument I hear is that rule of law must outweigh everything else. that anarchy would follow if we disregarded laws because we personally didn't like them. That the only answer is to seek to change those laws, or in this case that constitution.

But suppose the constitution said we must all worship the same God in the same manner? or that we must not worship any god? Or that our children were forfeit to teh state at the states' pleasure?

There is a practical difference between what the NC Constitution says & my straw man arguments, but the point is still applicable: there is a Right & Wrong that exist independently of a constitution. On things that do not directly affect us, we should seek to change the law through the proper channels. But when a constitution sets out a thing that is wrong & potentially dangerous, we must not consider ourselves obligated to obey it.

So the NC Constitution says that I am to consider myself not a North Carolinian, but a citizen of the federal government. I am to relinquish all emotional & spiritual preferences for my birthplace in favor of a federal government that is partially, if not totally alien to the things I hold dear.

North Carolina is not a better state than any other. It has some things that enhance its charms, but it also has many detriments that do not seem to be inclined to remedy. Many of you know that in Orth Carolina one can spend the morning watching the sun rise over the ocean, then spend that same evening watching the sun set over the mountains. It has plenty of good land, decent hunting for those so inclined, ample fishing, an abundance of produce & many other features that would appeal to those who enjoy the outdoors. It also boats some large cities with all the trappings of such.

But the single most endearing quality of North Carolina is simply that I was born there. My parents are from there, as were their parents, going back to the 1770's in some branches of my family. I grew up in one of its cities. I played in its suburbs. I learned to fish in its lakes & rivers. I learned to hunt in its woods & mountains. I came to love friends & relatives there, as well as bury more than a few of each there.

What benefits or enticements can the federal government provide to replace or even match these? what charms does Washington D.C. have for a North Carolinian? What event would make me wax poetic about that federal government? What snares does congress hold over my heart to make me abandon the place of my birth to suit its whim?

In fact, what has the federal government done for me besides tax me? What has it done aside from forbiding me from owning certain types of firearm? What has it done aside from entrapping friends & relatives in that net called Welfare? What has it done that did not involve taking money from me by force, for the promise of some imagined charity in my old age? What has it done aside from wresting control of the economy to itself?

I do not, I can not abandon my loyalties solely on the writing of a document designed to placate the federal government. Even though I reside in another state for the time, I am a North Carolinian. If, in a just cause, NC ever needs me I cannot refuse.

& I expect ya'll to feel the same towards your home state, wherever it may be. I do not pretend that NC is perfect, nor should you ignore the faults of your own state. But when it comes down to choosing loyalties, your state should come before the federal government.

The federal government doesn't want you to feel that way. It wants your loyalties to lie first & foremost with it. This is not out of a sense of love or caring, but solely for the sake of control. It is much easier to control a someone when they believe they are solely a citizen of that government which attempts to exert control. Or perhaps to a greater degree it is easier to exert control over a state when that states' citizens feel their loyalty lies solely with the federal government.

Will this become a practical question anytime soon? Probably not, although it would not take much to bring about the revolution some fear & some long for. If &/or when that ever happens then deciding loyalty to a state or the federal government might come into play.

To put things into perspective, if we ignore for the moment the causes of the late unpleasantires betwixt the States, pre- 1860's our military was made up mainly of state militias. Units in the military were identified by their state. This is because prior to Lincolns' aggression we simply did not have a standing army of any size. It was thought best that the military be formed by the states respectively & comprised mainly of volunteers, or militia. This did two things: it circumnavigated any attempts by a dictorial president or congress to use the forse of the military against the states, & it kept us from entering foreign disputes lightly. In the 1860's congress & that bastard Lincoln had some states to supply them an army to do their bidding. After that the concept of state military forces, even militia, began to be phased out in place of a standing regular military. This negated the advantages of the previous system: it made it possible, though most feel unlikely, for congress to impose its will on a state by force of arms, & it made jumping into foreign affairs much more streamlined.

But a related aspect of that was the indoctrination of U.S. citizenship as oppossed to state citizenship. More or less it was starting to be recognized that loyalty to the federal government was much more advantageous(to the federal government) than loyalty to a particular state, especially if that state objected to some act of the federal government.

But Mr. Greenslade does a more concise job explaining why state citizenship should still be valid.

Also Mr. greenslade points to an article written by Judge L.H. Perez called The Unconstitutionality of the Fourteenth Amendment How the Southern States Were Illegally Excluded From Congress During Reconstruction

What Mr. Greenslade nor Judge Perez neglect is the Right to Secession. NC has been required to have an anti-secession statement in its Constitutiuon since reconstruction. Does this make it valid or binding? Not to me.

Some will say that the "question" of secession was settled by force of arms in 1865, & that the result is there is no Right to secede. I feel ashamed that anyone would think that way, but unfortunately this is a common idea.

Let me show you what I think argues favorably in favor of a Right to Secession:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, -- 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, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security..."

In case ya'll missed it:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another..."

"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..."

" is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security..."

Great Britain was the lawful government of the American Colonies in 1775. Yet we rebelled against that lawful government, seperated ourselves from it & formed a new one. I have seen nary a thing in The Federalist Papers, nor in the Elliot Debates, nor in the Letters From The Federal Farmer, or any other period document that even implied that by ratifying the Constitution a state would insolubly & irrevocably bind itself forever to the federal government.

To put things into perspective would those who argue that the state may never secede from the union argue with equal passion that the Unisted States may never leave the UN? or NATO? I shudder to think that some would.

What if the federal government decided to start continuing Hitlers' Final Solution or some other massive genecide? Would you still say a state had no Right to Secede? I would argue that a state, in fact all states had a duty to secede if they could not control the federal government & prevent such action.

To put it briefly the Constitution is a document that creates the federal government by deferring power to it from the states. It in no way constitutes an ever binding eternal agreement, nor could it.

What is the practical application of this? Currently there is none. However should at any time a state feel that the federal government is operating beyond its constitutional limitations &/or is becoming abusive of the Rights of its people, it should not be bothered with such trifling arguments such as a constitution forbids secession, or that we are obligated to remain chained to the federal government forever.

No, I am not arguing in favor of secession, although given what the federal government has done, is doing & is about to do I might change my mind any day now. What I am arguing for is that we, the people of a state, have the Right to Secession. Not that we should use it immedietely, but that should the occasion ever arise, it is within our range of options.

No comments: