Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve edited this…
I had to kill a rooster about an hour ago. He’d been attacking people, including me. We all agreed that, while he was a prize-winning-beautiful bird, we had too many roosters and this taloned terrorist had to go. So I finished my workday, and put on some gloves and safety glasses. My youngest son Hark locked the dogs inside to avoid undue excitement (you don’t want your dogs to develop a taste for your chickens), and he also put on gloves and safety glasses.
Yeah, the rooster was mean and could jump high. His spurs are sharp and his beak drew blood too. A few weeks ago, Hark accidentally blinded the rooster’s right eye while fighting him off, but that only made the rooster even more fearful and aggressive.
I think he knew what was coming, as Hark and I started across the field toward the free-ranging flock. Maybe the saddest part for me was when he ran behind his favorite hen; the one whose back he’d plucked completely bare. The cocky bully turned chicken in his final moments, and my heart sank. I almost called the whole thing off. Maybe I should have.
I don’t know.
Anyway, while my son and I both chased him down, I got the short straw as the one able to grab the rooster first. I scooped up the squawking chainsaw of beak, feathers and two-inch spurs, and swiftly broke his neck.
I suppose it was as quick a death as possible, but man, I hated doing that. It’s not as easy as it looks in movies; but worse, I took a life that was fighting for life. He wanted to live, and I killed him.
Since moving to the farm, I’ve had to kill many animals, for many perfectly understandable reasons, but I’ve never gotten used to it. My hands shake and my spirit is heavy for a long time after strangling, shooting or twisting the life out of even the most vicious creature. If anything, it’s getting harder every time.
Do not take me for a saint. When I was very young, I had little trouble extinguishing the life of frogs, squirrels, or whatever else was on the wrong end of my shoe, slingshot, bow or gun.
But a more mature perspective has revealed to me the preciousness of life, and the horror of stealing life. I don’t kill from childish fear or flippancy. While I don’t at all begrudge hunters their sport, killing is never a sport to me. It’s just something that sometimes has to be done in the real world.
Yes, this is about politics. Damn it all, this is most definitely about politics.
What is politics, after all, but the delegation of reality to somebody else? Politics is about taking somebody else’s money for our convenience and comforts. It’s about risking somebody else’s life for our sense of security. It’s about blaming somebody else for our choices and making somebody else pay for our mistakes. Mostly, it seems these days, it’s about getting other people to do your violence for you.
Why else would we put up with it?
We citizens are supposed to take account for our own violence/killing…personally. We are still (the laws of the land haven’t been altered) to be citizen soldiers, trained in the use and accountability of deadly force. We are to consider what it means to look into another person’s eyes before snuffing out all his or her opportunities. We are to think long and hard before entering another person’s nation to serve some political whimsey. We are, in point of fact and fact of the point, to be responsible adults who treat others as we’d like to be treated.
It’s by no accident that we’ve laid most of the personal risks of war upon our young and ill-informed. We know the human brain’s ability to assess risk and benefit is undeveloped and fragile in today’s soldiering age-range of teens to thirty. It’s too easy to whip up the young into a Hatfield v McCoy, or Colts versus Bears tribalism. They are too brave, too fearless, too free of adult restraint, to be the antiviolent force that freedom requires.
It’s too easy for the fearful, selfish, greedy and foolish among us to direct these young bucks to do our evil for us in the name of patriotic duty.
Maybe this is a long way to come to my core point, but I didn’t want to just come out and directly state that I abhor that “…thank a soldier” mentality.
I have great respect for soldiers. I’ve seen the service to great things for people who serve. I’ve met very few rotten soldiers and plenty whom I admire. Pretty much everybody in my family forever has been in the military at some point; some for their whole careers. My dad was a decorated war pilot and POW.
But exactly who is it that ever takes away liberty? Who is able to oppress, enslave and steal on a large scale? Was it Stalin or Mao themselves who killed so many millions of their own citizens?
…Or did they have professional help?
Isn’t it obvious from even the most brief examination of humanity’s historical record that the permanent, professional standing armies that our founders warned us against are still our greatest threat?
Yes, it’s a bloody horrible thing to take a life with your own hands. We should hate it. We should avoid it as though it’s a stain upon our soul. It is a taste of hell.
But it is a far worse, insane and wicked thing to delegate our killing to others and act as though it is some hallmark of civility.
Horrible, evil things happen. Horrible, evil things must be opposed; sometimes by force. Deadly force is very rarely necessary, but it does happen that it is necessary to kill.
But shouldn’t we bring that force into the light and make it both accountable, and personal?
Yes, taking life is ugly. It is hellish horrid. We really should own up to that. We should personally weigh that evil against the comforts we claim from it.
It is a shame that’d make our founders shudder that we have turned this abhorrent thing into a career for so many, for so long.
Today was Step #1. I think it’d be great to do pretty much the same thing again on Constitution Day, Saturday, September 17. We had a good band of patriots in attendance today, but hopefully, Constitution Day will be much, much better.
Here’s pretty much what I’d said today:
Eleven score and fifteen years ago, our founding fathers waged war against their own government.
Yet it seems that to many Americans today, Independence Day is about flags, fireworks, and a day off work.
Let us humbly recognize that because of our founders’ sacrifices, We The People have what We The People have chosen. Our votes and our daily actions leave us nobody else to blame for any of the injustice, corruption and violence around us.
Indeed if the so-called “Arab Spring” of uprisings in the middle east teaches us anything, it’s that ALL government, even the most oppressive, is by consent of the governed.
Here in the USA, we can simply choose how we’d like to live; and we can do it in safe, air-conditioned, button-pushing comfort.
After generations of choices, it’s obvious that the life we have chosen is not at all what our founders sacrificed, fought and died to bequeath us.
Out of the 27 specific complaints listed in the Declaration of Independence, there is only one, rather minor mention of taxation. Obviously there were no complaints about healthcare or Social Security. The colonists weren’t mad about working conditions or Daylight Saving Time. They weren’t asking for anything special or even new.
Our nation’s founders’ first and underlying complaint was that they’d been denied what was due all English people: They were denied English Law.
The very first-listed complaint against the king was that “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
That’s important; let me repeat that. “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
Now, to those who don’t know anything about Libertarians, it may seem odd that I would stress that our libertarian founders wanted laws.
But what we have instead of laws today is an endless stream of contradictory words, spit out like machine gun bullets by bureaucrats, judges, lawmakers and executives that produce the effect of power without authority; politics without any restraint …ungoverned government. Rules change daily, corruption is everywhere, and the violence is incessant.
This lawless, politicized anarchy is just not working.
It’s a basic human need that we must know the rules by which we must live. It’s the most basic justice that these rules should be applied in a way that’s fair, or at least predictable.
So here’s what we’re asking for:
We want rules that are few enough that everybody can know them; simple enough that everyone can understand them, and important enough that every one of them is to be obeyed by everybody without exception, all the time. We want these rules to stay put for long enough to plan a business or a retirement; or better yet, to raise a child to see that law and order is a thing to be desired, and chosen.
OK, so we’ve all had reasons to oppose such simple order and justice. Maybe our fear of foreigners, our political tribal loyalties and hatreds, the past sins of slavery or our greed and ignorance made us use the constitutions as tug-of-war ropes. We’d grab onto our favorite rights to yank away somebody else’s.
But those of us here today have learned our lesson. We will sacrifice our pet violations, or even the degree of freedom we think the constitutions deny us, in order to gain some measure of liberty and justice, for all.
We want to know the rules. And we’re all fine with what is already the proven, signed and once-revered Law of the Land.
Bottom line: We want our constitutions, state and federal, as written, back.
In years past I’ve had personal reasons to dislike what happens on Election Day. But today my name wasn’t on any ballot and I’m more disgusted than ever. Why?
Well, because, in spite of all the blustery “Tea Party” rhetoric, we did it again. We swapped betwixt McCoy and Hatfield without changing a single thing of consequence.
The bankster/moneychangers who control both entrenched parties are still in charge. The impending constitutional amendment proves that we still have no idea what constitutions are for or what they say. Party leaders are still safely ensconced, and the ungoverned monster we call “government” is still all about robbing Peter to pay Paul; where lawyers, lobbyists, politicians and soldiers determine who must be Peter, and who, for a while anyway, gets to be Paul.
If I see a bright spot in our march into parched oblivion, it comes down to one question that, more often than ever, I’ve been asked in earnest: “What is a Libertarian?”
To me that’s easy. There are just two principles:
1. Only you are payable for your own actions. Nobody else gets credit, money or blame for your work, your plans, your mistakes, or your crimes.
2. Nonviolence. The only tolerable use of force is against force initiated directly against you.
Following these two principles to their natural conclusions would lead to all sorts of wonderful things. But so what?
All the preceding about political parties and labels amounts to allegiance to abstractions, or more accurately, idolatry.
It’s harmless to treat the San Francisco/New York Giants as some living thing that spans new owners, new players and new home states. It’s just a game. But where liberty and justice versus oppression, slavery, genocide and war is concerned, we should be wary and sober.
Despite the horse race rhetoric, politics is no game, and there are no winners. The end of nations is as certain as the end of our mortal lives. And the end almost always comes by making government an idol. Political party loyalty is, to my eyes, a body-painted tribal war dance around this idol. Some do enjoy the spectacle, the strategies and the apparent glamour; but it’s ultimately a major cause of large scale violence, needless suffering, theft and death.
It’s not harmless sport that we tax people out of homes to pay for homeless programs, destroy businesses to “stimulate the economy,” or wage endless, innumerable wars for peace.
I cannot believe we humans don’t share a vision for a better life than the taxation, litigation, regulation and war that always creates enemies and unjust winners. I can only conclude that we don’t promote or even talk about this shared vision because we don’t believe it’s possible to achieve. Perhaps the numbing realities we’ve created for ourselves make us believe that there’s no point in dreaming of better…even when we could simply vote for it.
Perhaps nobody alive has any memory of how American life worked when only churches and voluntary associations like Kiwanis and Scouts comprised the departments of health, education and welfare. Maybe we can’t imagine the actual process of looking out for our neighbors or caring for our own elderly because that involves something other than money. Perhaps some of us concentrate on foreign charities because that seems easier and safer than dealing with what you can see on your way to work. Maybe we so muddle the benefits of modern technology with the handicap of modern politics that we think that resurrecting constitutional Rule of Law means the surrender of flushing toilets.
Whatever the case, I wish we’d put down the tribal flags, cross the chasm between politics and reality, and talk plainly with each other about how we want to live our too-short lives.
Instead of “Tea Party” saber rattling, how about we calmly stroll toward la dolce vita, “the sweet life;” in which peace, prosperity, liberty and justice for all doesn’t mean ganging up on poor Peter?
The tiny percentage of us who’ve actually read any constitution, federal or state, know very well that all levels of our government operate in violation of these proven, fundamental, once-cherished and now-ignored laws.
So it’s no surprise that most of us sense a problem with the state of our union. It’s similarly predictable that most of us misdiagnose the problem and then promote bad ideas as a cure.
But this problem of ungoverned government (a.k.a., anarchy) isn’t that our politicians are “out of touch.” Far from it. The problem is that our politicians represent us perfectly.
We The People have completely violated “the supreme Law of the Land” at every level – federal, state, local and personal. A constitutional convention now would only muddle matters with more laws written by lawbreakers in a society that has no respect for law.
The real cure is to snap out of this madness, read the law and obey it as written:
The federal constitution’s tenth amendment decrees that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So whatever power isn’t specifically delegated in the constitution is completely denied.
All state constitutions say something similar. The Indiana constitution’s Article I, Section 25 says, “No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.” In other words, not even legislation can create authority; only constitutions do that.
No constitution was ever amended to authorize most of what governments now do to citizens.
Even the Texas Constitution, the longest and worst (due to “runaway” amendments and usurpations some claim never happened and couldn’t happen in a new constitutional convention), obviates the need of any new laws in its Article I, Sec. 29: “To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this ‘Bill of Rights’ is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.”
Nullification of anything unconstitutional is already law in every state of the union.
Let us pray that we do this soon, before somebody invokes Article 10 of the New Hampshire constitution: “…whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.”