Our Founders read and studied writings by Sir William Blackstone. He wrote a four volume “Commentary on the Laws of England.” Blackstone had a gift for clarifying the laws and the reasoning behind the laws. I have been fortunate to acquire the four volumes. I have not been able to completely read them and digest all of the ‘arcane’ language.
This particular quote from Blackstone caught my interest lately:
“… that the whole should protect all its parts, and that every part should pay obedience to the will of the whole: or, in other words, that community should guard the rights of each individual member, and that (in return for this protection) each individual should submit to the laws of the community; without which submission of all it was impossible that protection could be extended to any.”
Now this is interesting because on first reading it would appear that the People should be “obedient” to all the laws. Then Blackstone turns around and clarifies by saying the community or whole should guard the “rights” of the individual. Obviously after studying this we can see that the whole can only pass laws which do NOT steal or usurp the fundamental, God given rights of the individual. Therefore it would appear to me that in order for a law to be just it must also refrain from infringing on a fundamental right. Natural law does not infringe fundamental rights and would include such laws as: do not steal, do not murder, do not rape, etc.
With that mouth full we can see that it is the responsibility of the legislator to see that he/she passes only those laws that are absolutely necessary for society to function without infringing the rights of the People. We also need to remember that the true function of government is to secure the rights of the People, not to make sure they have safe food and safe jobs (OSHA) etc. We are more likely to lose our fundamental rights from bureaucratic notions of public safety. The theft of Liberty tends to come with all the thousands of so called “necessary” little stuff. If they were so necessary then how could America have even gotten started without them?
We need to review, once in a while, the list of reasons in the Declaration of Independence that led to the American Revolution. One stated reason to think about for today as a most important reason is: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass (sic) our people, and eat out their substance.”
Thankfully we do not, at least as far as I know, have any officers close by wanting to pass laws against selling politically incorrect drinks larger than 16 ozs. You can guess it could be coming though if some zealous bureaucrat could get away with it. I believe if we guard our Liberty, then peace and safety of society will follow.
I have had several attorneys tell me there is no such thing as society with absolute exercise of fundamental rights. That may true, but I say, “There is no such thing as a society with absolute safety,” which is what so many of the useless Liberty stealing laws in the real world attempt bring about.
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