I keep getting blank stares over the whole point of constitutions; their effect as law, and their limitation on power. I understand. We’ve been “educated” away from Rule of Law in favor of Rule of Tyrants.
So here’s another attempt to clarify what’s been muddled in our government schools:
The most important, protective, abused and unknown words in Indiana law are these of Article 1, Section 25 of the Indiana Constitution:
No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.
It obviously applies to lawmakers, not to citizens. There can be no equivocation about that, since nobody but lawmakers can pass laws. Being a law, it’s of course a restriction on something. And in this case, it’s a clear restriction of authority to only what’s specifically written into the constitution, similar to that in the US Constitution’s tenth amendment.
This is fundamental, inviolable law. It can be eliminated by amendment, but as long as the constitution isn’t so amended or formally suspended, it is the law.
It’s admittedly a little odd in sentence structure, so I’ll rephrase it in a more common vernacular:
“No legislation can create or depend upon any powers not specifically granted by the constitution.”
I’ll rephrase again: “If the power’s not granted by the constitution, the power is denied.”
One more: “If it ain’t written down here, the answer is NO! Hands off! Leave the poor citizens alone!”
How did we mess this up and come to believe that constitutions are just a starting point in an unlimited grant of power over citizens? Well, because citizens, being human, have a flawed nature and a terrible default state. If you don’t regularly brush your teeth, you lose your teeth by default. If you don’t regularly brush away politicians, you lose your freedom, security, opportunity, wealth, and life …by default.
Some of the wiser words in our nation’s Declaration of Independence are these: “…experience hath shown 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.”
What’s missing from the Declaration is the warning that failure is Option One – a certainty – the common outcome, even in the short term, of societal change.
Most nations never rise from our human default state of barbarian oppression, slavery, genocide and war. And all great nations die by suicide.
When God grants nations His favor, there’s a rare, precious breath of freedom between a brutish beginning and self-immolation.
I believe that history will show that Americans had that breath in the late 1800s until about 1913. Caesar then crossed the Rubicon to lure us with bread and circuses into the fate of all foolish nations.
How? We believed Caesar’s interpretation of Caesar’s leash, that’s how. We listened to what politicians told us about their legal limitations. We didn’t read the law ourselves; we instead took the word of those we know to lie.
You can fix that. Here, in this country and state of Indiana, you can very easily fix that.
Read the laws. There is no shortcut to that. Read them for yourself.