On our unalienable rights and why I don’t trust big government
We live in a time in Canada when we have forgotten what our government’s legitimate and legal mandate is. Unalienable rights recognized under law from the time of Magna Carta onward are under assault today in a way that would appall our ancestors. Rights deemed by Thomas Jefferson as endowed upon us by our Creator. We are so filled with hubris that we fail to recognize how deeply our ancestors regarded these rights and how many of them we have surrendered to statism. Let’s look at a summarized Jeffersonian description of these God given rights;
- To act in self-defence (personal, family, innocents, nation against tyranny). (Second Amendment)
- To own and carry at home and in public weapons (firearms and knives, etc.) for self-defence and for ensuring that the nation remains free against tyranny from enemies both foreign and domestic. (Second Amendment)
- To own and control private property (land, money, personal items, intellectual property, etc.)
- To earn a living and keep the fruit of one’s labor.
- To freely migrate within the country or to leave the country.
- To worship — or not worship — God in the manner one chooses. (First Amendment)
- To associate with — or disassociate from — any person or group. (First Amendment)
- To express any idea through print, voice, banner, or other media. (First Amendment)
- To be secure in one’s home, papers, and person against unwarranted searches and seizures (privacy). (Fourth Amendment)
- To be advised of the charges, in the event of arrest.
- To have a judge determine if the accused should be held for trial or for punishment.
- To be tried by a jury of one’s peers and face one’s accuser, in the event of being charged with a crime.
- To be tried by a jury of one’s peers, in the event of a suit in which the disputed amount is substantive.
- To suffer no cruel or unusual punishment.
- To establish, monitor, control, and petition our servant government to help secure the above rights.
- To abolish said government, when it becomes destructive of these rights.
Now you may argue that was in America. Was it only in America though? The rights described above are founded in and based upon those guaranteed in Magna Carta. All inheritors of the British Parliamentary System have systems of governance founded on these rights. It doesn’t take a genius to realize we have surrendered too many of them to some bizarre notion of what constitutes “collective welfare”. Every totalitarian regime has exacted the surrender of such out of its citizenry by claiming it was for the “common good”. Here is the thing, if the state does not recognize and protect the rights of the individual, it cannot protect the welfare of the many made up of individuals. The notion that “we are all in this together” has been used to justify the most perverse and unnatural intrusions upon our unalienable rights and freedoms. The inevitable result of growing statism is the creation of an entitled class who in the name of looking out for the welfare of the many become tyrannical enforcers of collectivism.
I have always been somewhat of a small c conservative, except for one youthful venture into socialism which was brought to a screeching halt when a youth party member told me I didn’t think like a socialist. He had me do a political spectrum test the results of which put me solidly in the conservative camp. For years I thought little more about it and remained a nominal conservative without engaging in much political thought or dialogue.
I had a few moments of concern of course, such as when Trudeau the elder suspended habeas corpus during the Quebec Crisis, or when laws became so intrusive that I was made aware of restrictions on my personal life. Or, when my older brother who had emigrated to Australia warned me about corporate welfare on an infrequent visit home. He spoke of the emergence of multinational conglomerates that had budgets far larger than many countries. Corporations that lobbied governments for special treatment thereby choking out their competitors. Of course the free market is just that, meant to be free. Laissez-faire capitalism remains the truly untried construct. Keynesian interference in the economy lies at the heart of what has gone wrong. This belief that governments create value rather than assisting to create a free situation where private citizens can create and add value. It’s all a part of denying the laws of conservation of matter and energy thereby promoting the false notion that there is such a thing as a “free lunch”. Government does not make money it merely prints it or takes if from us!
Now as to my awakening. My road to Damascus moment occurred after I moved to Norway. I had met my wife while working on a project to improve integrity in business. A project designed to engage our clients in learning to hear their inner dialogue and realign it in order to realize a more functional and profitable work environment. With our coaching a team’s optimal discretionary effort could be achieved. The thing is, no team functions well without its individual members functioning as individuals. In order to create dynamic and successful teams, individuals must be trained and empowered. They must clearly understand their role within the organization and feel valued as individuals. Having fallen in love with the woman I met while working on this program, I was exciting beyond belief. I was ready for a new adventure and so was she. We decided we should advance this program best as a family team, and so I moved to Norway.
Our excitement was soon dampened as we began to hit roadblocks. Upon my arrival in Norway I ran head long into a bureaucratic nightmare that neither my wife nor I could quite manage to navigate. Although we followed government protocols, paid all fees and did all we were advised to do by the authorities, nothing went as we had expected. Inaccurate information from UDI (Department of Immigration), the police who handle UDI matters and a lack of information from my school (where I studied Norwegian language and culture) resulted in me nearly being deported. During this time I was actively engaged in two business ventures that met with the same sort of resistance. Finally, in a moment of desperation, my wife found the information we needed on a gay, lesbian and transgendered web-site as to what Norwegian law actually stated. Miraculously our problems dissolved and I was able to remain until we could be wed. Here is the thing though, we had asked the authorities, which included the senior member of parliament for family law, to tell us what the law stated. Everyone we contacted and spoke with had refused to tell us. Now this may seem odd to many readers, however in Norway they do not have direct democracy as we do in Canada. Even so, I did not expect to be lied to or stonewalled by the authorities. Throughout all of this I experienced something new to me, a great distaste on the part of the bureaucrats whom I dealt with toward me personally, as well as an unwillingness to process me. But there was something more. The distaste shown toward me by them was in fact indicative of the general attitude of the Norwegians I met in daily life. They were very accepting of folks from countries whom they felt they could pity but loathed me. There was an underlying desire for conformity to socialist norms, none of which they saw in me. I was an outsider living in a place where I felt most unwelcome.
One year ago last month we found out that we would be returning to Canada as my wife had found employment here. Needless to say we were delighted and welcomed the new experience and challenge of moving our little family to Canada. I must say that my dear brother in law made this possible as he had his firm ship our belongings in a dry sea container to Montreal. What was shocking to me upon my return was the extent and depth of cultural hegemony I encountered. Ottawa has become pretty much like Oslo where only so called “social progressives” fit in. Our unalienable rights have been replaced by some twisted notion of collectivism. Trudeau, who is proving to be an unmitigated nightmare, is perhaps infected with even more hubris that his father. He is increasing our debt daily while engaging in failed experiments in social re-engineering. Any concerns expressed over such are met with scorn, bullying and name calling. Frankly we have not only given up our unalienable rights, we are on the verge of losing democracy altogether.
Ottawa’s own history professor, blogger and political pundit John Robson is advocating for much needed constitutional reform. http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/john-robson-our-constitution-is-in-dire-need-of-fixing. I admire John Robson. His intelligent and well thought arguments resonate with me. We need to remember that if the first 15 points in Jefferson’s assertions listed above are ignored then the 16th becomes inevitable. Impossible in Canada you say? Well remember the McKenzie-Papineau Rebellion of 1837 and then tell me it cannot happen in Canada. The Rebellion may have failed to bring about immediate reform but it did result in the Baldwin Act. With it democratic reform and limited suffrage came to Upper Canada in 1849! If we wish to be inheritors of the legacy our ancestors so wisely have bequeathed us, then we must embark on the task of reforming our constitution!
Written by: Bill Walle-Rymer