Lesson 1 Assignment 1

Student Responses:

“The two items that stand out the most are Sobran’s assessment of the 16th and 17th amendments as tyrannical in nature. As I understand him, the 16th amendment, which establishes income tax, represents the first time that individual citizens became directly accountable to the federal government under the Constitution. And the 17th amendment, which changed the electors of Senators from state legislators to citizens, represents a removal of the representation of state interests. In my own words, the implication is that these two amendments, taken together, constitute a 1-2 punch against state sovereignty. First punch, create a direct jurisdiction between the federal level of government and the people by financial means. Second punch, render the original overseer of the people, the state, an ineffective middleman by removing his own representation on the federal level. Out of simple curiosity, I did a simple search on the 17th amendment through Wikipedia, which indicated that part of the impetus behind the amendment was that some state legislatures were so deadlocked by party strife in the latter half of the 1800s that they did not, at times, send any representation to the Senate. In other words, conflict between political parties had rendered some state legislatures impotent as electors. My own experience today is that most discussions of politics between individual citizens are so laden with party contention and strife as to render many citizens impotent as electors as well. It would seem that a discussion of political principles, removed from the passions and interests of parties, is warranted on both the individual and the state level in order to take steps towards returning to the balance between state and federal sovereignty that the framers of the Constitution envisioned.”

         —Eric Colby

“Quote: we aren’t ruled by some fanatic with a funny mustache who likes big parades
-No just big greek artecture in acceptence speeches.
-The presidential seal being change to the 0
-children singing to the tune of Battle hymn of the republic to our current President.
-Or the past adminstration surrendering capalism under the flag of an emergency.

Quote: federal government now routinely assumes thousands of powers never assigned to it
-Transferring the possessions of one to give to another.
-Restraining free speech
-Wanting to controll others lives by controling removing our sources of energy and other resources
-taking over businesses i.e goverment motors
-restricting our right to bear arms.

Quote: using entitlement programs, … to buy some people’s votes with other people’s money
-you don’t even have to be a citizen of the US
-When your substance (welfare), health (medicare) and our homes (don’t pay home taxes and you lose your house?) come from the goverment they jump and we say ‘How high?'”

         —Melva Gifford

“Wow! Things seem to be much worse than I thought for longer than I thought. I get a feeling of hopelessness, yet, the thing we must do is to become educated in the constitution if there is to be any hope at all. We must get to where we can “test” the constitutional savvy of our representitives and require that they follow it as best they can until things start to turn around. I hope it will not be too late.”

         —Mike Hirst

“Tyranny is in our country, state, and local governments. We accept too quickly such titles for our representatives as freshmen and so we are a class of mis-represented citizens. Power does not take us toward our goal of a free society but rather toward our destiny of servitude to the governing desires of those ruling beyond our vote. Restoring constitutional literacy is but one step on a long journey toward restoring the rightful fate for our Posterity. Though this journey will be long, generational, and at times appear beyond our reach tyranny can be sent out of America just as it has come to America. Local governing control is a good place to start and the most local is within each of our hearts.”

         —Gary Wood

“Great article! There were a couple of ideas that I felt were missing that are essential to an understanding of the “proper role of government” and its limits, especially when discussing the concept of delegated authority:
George Washington described government as an instrument of force when he said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence–it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” Bearing that in mind, when an individual thinks of transfering or delegating authority to his agent–the government–he must first examine the moral limits under which he may himself use force upon another. The defence of life, liberty or property would be moral justification for the use of force. This simple moral rule, if practiced, would simplify and limit government. Do I, as an individual, have the right to use force upon another to accomplish this end? If not, then government, with authority delegated to it by the people, cannot manufacture the right to use force to accomplish any end not morally justifiable for the individual citizen.”

         —Arlene Anderson

I was privileged to spend a few years in Romania just after their “revolution”. At the time I went, it was a celebrated set of circumstances that they saw as a way of getting out from underneath the brutal communist regime of Ceausescu. Like most I also celebrated with them as it did have the appearance of bringing freedom to the people of Romania.
Yes, they are much better off today, but not because of their revolution. What they got, as a form of government, after bringing down communism was actually much worse than what they had before. With Ceausescu, there was at least some sort of semblance of law. After, those who came to power, who were the ones behind the scenes pushing for the revolution and were those who served under Ceausescu in lower posts within his government, were able to divide up the wealth of the country, to the enrichment of themselves, and bring the people under even tighter control.
I see that happening today in the US. To many politicians see their elected status as an entitlement to enrich themselves and their family and friends. This “elitist” attitude is used to tell us that they know better how we should live our lives and if we don’t agree with them, they paint us as provincial or misguided.
What gives me hope though, is that there are absolute truths in this world. Whether we accept it or not, we live by these laws everyday – laws of nature. These laws not only dictate how we live our physical lives, but also our spiritual lives. It does not matter how many laws are passed by congress, they cannot undue natural law – and they look really foolish trying to do it. These laws were put in place by Nature’s God. Only as we as a people look back towards heaven can we rely on His divine providence and maintain our freedom.

         —Blake Tuddenham

This is a great article in many aspects but it also leaves a few things open to the never ending changing of language and the meaning of words. As a person that has only studied the Constitution of the United States as of Jan. 2009, there is much that I need to learn beyond the realm of what has been written in the Constitution. This article has opened the door for all people to step back and see that maybe we are moving in a direction other than what has been intended by our Constitution. Constitutional literacy is something that we as a people may struggle with for eternity and may never truly understand if it was not for the many articles, books, papers and letter like “How Tyranny Came to America”.
To read a document and interrupt it with one’s own experience is one thing, but to truly understand what has been written we must understand the ideas and beliefs of the people who have written the documents.
Tyranny in America is like flying fish to water, or a penguin to land. What would happen to the fish if it was never able to leave the water? What would happen if the penguin had no land? Where would America be if our forefathers never experienced Tyranny? It is a natural instinct of man to move toward Tyranny in the pursuit of happiness or freedom, just as the flying fish has an instinct to leave the water. We as humans, in our pursuit of freedom will always look for the easiest way to achieve our goal. As we see our goal just the same as we see an easy path, weither it be right or wrong, man seems to take the easy path first. We do this in hopes that we might achieve our goal with as little effort as possible. But what we might not see is the Tyrannical Government at the end of the path.
As a people we also elect Statesman, weither in the Senate or House of Representative, based on the idea of whom we believe will win or make things easier on us. Than we place a label on them as if there office means less because of the time (or lack of time) that has been spent as an elected Representative. Yet we the people get angry when the Statesman only does the minimum required by their office, just as we have labeled them.
A few things to remember as we look at candidates are that we are no longer in High School. This is not a popularity contest! It should not matter who the football start is or who is the best player on the basketball team. But when we look at a candidate that is exactly what we are looking for. Who is popular? Who is the football star or basketball star? But the one thing we tend to over look, who is going to do the best to represent the people, the City, the State, or our Country. We elect who we believe is the most popular. Than we ask why our country has lost our Constitutional freedoms?

         —James Williams

“How Tyranny Came to America” was a very good article. How is it that we were NOT taught in school about the Constitution and what it’s really all about? I guess it was better to learn nothing about it than to learn incorrect principles about it. At least we didn’t have to unlearn our history. It’s frustrating and discouraging to know that those in the government have their own agenda in “Dumbing Down America”. It’s good to have in our minds two simple ideas that are very clear. The powers of the federal government are few and defined and all other powers go to the individual states. The idea that liberals have gained power by pretending to support the Constitution when in reality they don’t is so cunning and evil. Of course, they don’t out right say they oppose the Constitution. The irony is they swear to uphold the Constitution. They claim it is a living document that they can use to bend and mold it anyway that’s convenient. The federal government has changed from defending our rights to redistributing our wealth. It’s important to understand the steps and the history of our decline. We want to do all we can to help to restore freedom to America by learning all that we can in the language of our Founding Fathers and then by teaching these sound principles to others. We still have so much to learn.

         —Gary and Janice Kriese