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41


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 41, July 14, 1998

A New Day Dawns!

By L. Neil Smith
lneil@lneilsmith.org

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         By its nature, the Bill of Rights is (and was always intended to be) the highest law of the land, superseding every other regulation, law, statue, ordinance, decree, or amendment presently (or ever) put in force.
         The Bill of Rights is "true for all men and all times" -- meaning that it's as valid and necessary today as when it was written. If you have any doubt about that, simply glance at the headlines in any newspaper.
         While the main body of the Constitution -- as well as most of the subsequent amendments -- function as a charter for the strong central government that the Federalist Party insisted on in the closing years of the 18th century, the price that the Federalists willingly paid (a price demanded by Anti-Federalist Party) was not just an arbitrary laundry list of things that the government would generously allow people to do. It was a series of absolute prohibitions -- stringent limits -- imposed on what government would be allowed to do, written in easily understood language, meant to protect certain rights that each of us possesses simply by virtue of having been born a human being.
         Thus the Bill of Rights is the property of the American people, our property, collectively and individually, not the government's. Given its nature and the intentions of those who wrote and ratified it, it may not be interpreted away, amended, or repealed, wholly or in part, without negating the entire Constitution from which government derives its authority. In short, should the political heirs of the Federalist Party renege (as they have with increasing frequency and brutality) on any part of their 209-year-old bargain with us, the political heirs of the Anti-Federalist Party, then the whole deal is off.
         
         No Bill of Rights, no Constitution.
         No Constitution, no government.
         As the highest law of the land, then, the Bill of Rights must be enforced. Any public official, appointed or elected, at any level of government -- and guilty of any violation of an individual's rights under the first ten Amendments, must be arrested, tried, convicted, and punished. That's what happens to us when we break the law, after all.
         The highest -- the only -- priority of public officials must be to enforce the Bill of Rights. They're all required to take a solemn oath to that effect, and that's the only criterion by which they should be judged, either as political candidates or encumbents seeking reelection.
         This same "Bill of Rights Enforcement" policy would shut down all government activities -- and nullify all laws and regulations -- not specifically authorized under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution. Estimates vary regarding how much government would be left. One thing for certain: there wouldn't be a trace of socialism remaining.
         Anyone who encounters (or professes to encounter) any difficulty understanding the meaning or intention of any portion of the Bill of Rights should ask himself the following question about America's Founders:
         Imagine that you've just fought the most powerful and ruthless government on the planet for thirteen long, miserable years and finally (more or less to your surprise) won your independence. The last thing in the world you want is to create another government like the one you've just defeated, or to fall again -- or ever to let your children or grandchildren fall again -- under the iron boot-heel of tyranny.
         Now: what do you want the Bill of Rights to mean?
         Would you write a Second Amendment (for example) reserving the right to own and carry weapons to state governments -- rather than to individuals?
         I've just declared my personal web site, the "Webley Page" to be the first "Bill of Rights Enforcement" site on the world wide web, complete with a graphic (meant to be used like the blue internet free speech ribbon) and a version of this article explaining what it's all about.
         Why not make your personal or business pages another Bill of Rights Enforcement site? The distinctive graphic of a parchment scroll -- representing the first ten amendments to the Constitution -- emerging from a broken Eurosocialist "verboten" sign, indicates that you believe in, live by, and promote the principles I've expressed here.


Novelist and political essayist L. Neil Smith is the only Libertarian ever to be called a "thug" within the pages of the Libertarian Party News. He has also been characterized by one disgruntled reader as having written the "single most repugnant ... piece of tripe ... ever seen in an American newspaper." In his spare time, he's the award- winning author of The Probability Broach, Pallas, Henry Martyn, and Bretta Martyn and 15 other novels, as well as publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/index.html. Order his books from Amazon.com at his home site "The Webley Page" at http://www.lneilsmith.org//index.html, from Laissez Faire Books at http://www.laissezfaire.com or call toll-free at 1-800-326-0996.


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