I’ve written a lot on Rule of Law, but perhaps I’ve not properly laid out the picture of what life would be like if we had it. So, while I’ve already written down all the facts and laws in this posting elsewhere, I’ll now try to sum it up.
I confess that most of my sturm und drang is directed to federal policy. But that’s only because we don’t have federal policy. There is no law or custom, no property, no rights, no anything claimed in Indiana that isn’t routinely stolen by the goons of The Beltway, or New York, or the Hague.
How far from the constitutions have we strayed? Well, after reading this, you tell me:
Article 1, Section 12 of the Indiana Constitution says that “Justice shall be administered freely, and without purchase; completely, and without denial; speedily, and without delay.”
In other words, your legal needs are supposed to be paid for by your taxes. We shouldn’t have legal arms races in the courtroom where the most money wins. Imagine that. “…Without purchase.” Truly equal standing before the law. No special deals for special people. Poor people could actually seek justice. Imagine that.
“Article 1, Section 19. In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.”
No politician, no lawyer, no judge can tell you what to do as a juror. This written law means that citizen jurors determine what the law means, and how it applies to the case at hand. This is the opposite of what you’ve been told, right?
“Article 1, Section 22. The privilege of the debtor to enjoy the necessary comforts of life, shall be recognized by wholesome laws, exempting a reasonable amount of property from seizure or sale, for the payment of any debt or liability hereafter contracted: and there shall be no imprisonment for debt, except in case of fraud.”
A home is obviously one of the necessary comforts of life. So, your home cannot be legally seized and sold to pay for any state tax. This means that an awful lot of Hoosiers have had their homes stolen by politicians breaking the laws that gave them their jobs. That should never, ever happen again. We should be very, very sorry that it ever happened at all.
Article 8, Section 1 mandates “…a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall without charge, and equally open to all.”
Some argue that if government did nothing, rich people would send their kids to expensive schools, and only charities would provide schooling (of probably inferior quality) to only some of the poor. Homeschoolers have proven a better way exists. Nevertheless, it’s true that in the 1850s, the wealthy sent their kids to the best schools they could afford, and the poor or otherwise disadvantaged often went without any “proper” schooling at all (like Thomas Edison, who had only three weeks of formal schooling).
So starting in the 1840’s, Horace Mann argued that “Common Schools” (Prussian-style government school system) should be the “Great Equalizer,” and that politics must intervene to provide this identical “ladder of opportunity” to rich and poor alike. What Indiana law mandates, in other words, are lots of identical schools all across the state; nobody gets a palace, nobody gets a dump. Even before the law was written, small community-based schools were already being built at an astonishing pace, and locally funded Community Centers, typically built with private funds and never built by the state, were popping up everywhere to fill a need for sporting facilities that served all residents, whether in school or not. Kids were to bring their own lunch to school, and it was starting to work in those years before the War Between the States.
While I have strong feelings against government schools, the constitutional way would be much, much better than sending your kid on long bus rides to be a tiny fish in a huge ocean without the opportunities (in both education and sport) that kids had in years past.
And it should be paid for by state money alone, not some freakish hybrid of local, state and even federal money that ensures that nothing is fair or equal.
“Article 8, Section 3. The principal of the Common School fund shall remain a perpetual fund, which may be increased, but shall never be diminished; and the income thereof shall be inviolably appropriated to the support of Common Schools, and to no other purpose whatever.”
We’re supposed to pay for Common Schools with an endowed fund. Our politicians spent it all years ago, of course. There is no Common School fund now; but legally there is supposed to be an inviolable one. And in all the specific maintenance funding mentioned in Article 8, Section 2 you’ll see that personal property tax is not mentioned. Only “…Taxes on the property of corporations, that may be assessed by the General Assembly for common school purposes.”
So only corporate property tax is to be used for the Common School system. Since most of your property tax is to pay for “public schools” (which aren’t public at all; they’re government schools), this law should wipe out a huge part of your bill.
And Article 10, Sections 5 and 6 would lop off a lot more income, sales and property tax:
“No law shall authorize any debt to be contracted, on behalf of the State, except in the following cases: to meet casual deficits in the revenue; to pay the interest on the State Debt; to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or, if hostilities be threatened, provide for the public defense.” “Section 6. No county shall subscribe for stock in any incorporated company, unless the same be paid for at the time of such subscription; nor shall any county loan its credit to any incorporated company, nor borrow money for the purpose of taking stock in any such company; nor shall the General Assembly ever, on behalf of the State, assume the debts of any county, city, town, or township; nor of any corporation whatever.”
No more money to the Colts, Pacers, mall builders, foreign auto companies or any other campaign contributors. In other words, much of what government now spends your money on is illegal spending.
If that isn’t clear enough, how about Article 11, Section 12?
“The State shall not be a stockholder in any bank; nor shall the credit of the State ever be given, or loaned, in aid of any person, association or corporation; nor shall the State become a stockholder in any corporation or association.”
Indiana’s original constitution was really quite good. It was replaced in 1851 only because the state went broke investing in the public transportation craze of the early-mid 1800s (canal building). Hoosier politicians carved into law some very clear prohibitions against what today’s politicians are doing to your wealth.
“ARTICLE 15., Section 4. Every person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and also an oath of office.”
Every politician, policeman and soldier in this country has sworn to submit to the authority of constitutions, both state and federal. This is unequivocal. They cannot break the laws that authorize their powers, or those powers are null and void.
But this brings me to some “federal” issues. I’ll go back to Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search or seizure, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.”
So both the federal and state constitutions would have to be amended to allow the searches and seizures that happen by the minute at the Indianapolis International Airport, or the searches of email or phone calls now acknowledged to happen all the time. Ditto the right to arm and protect yourself, ditto the right to religious expression, ditto many, many other rights we once cherished and protected.
I say we follow the law instead.
Article 1, Section 25, which is something like the federal constitution’s Tenth Amendment, inarguably limits the power of politicians to written law:
“No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.”
This means that no law can contravene the constitution. No authority exceeds it. No state authority exists, in other words, outside what’s written into the constitution. So it doesn’t matter what a judge or Governor or Mayor says about the law. The constitution can be amended, but the constitution is to be obeyed, as written.
I’ve already made lots of arguments over many years on “federal” law. I think I’ve presented the key parts of the Indiana Constitution above.
So here’s the summary of what our life is supposed to be like, but isn’t now:
Do what you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with anybody else. Be what you want to be. Say what you’d like to say. Buy what you want to buy, sell what you want to sell, eat what you want to eat; even if it’s bad for you. You may leap off of things in unsafe contraptions as long as only you bear the consequences. You can take your case to court. You can build whatever you want to build, and live in it, if you’d like, and protect it by any means that doesn’t harm the innocent.
If you harm another, you will be responsible. If another harms you, then you aren’t the one in trouble.
We have rights that can’t be taken away by anybody for any reason. We can own things that politicians may not touch.
We keep the fruit of our labor, and we can pass what we save to whomever we choose. Our money is ours, our property is ours, our bodies are ours and our precious, limited time, is ours.
Oh yes, and our politicians do what we say, not the other way around.
This is called Freedom, and I want it back.