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   "If the history of mankind has taught us anything, it is that freedom comes at a price.  Freedom means a higher crime rate than we might otherwise prefer, because we worry that someday we might be convicted wrongly.  Freedom means that we have to tolerate hateful and ignorant speech, because we worry that someday our own views may not be popular.  Freedom means that we tolerate others accumulating wealth, even though we may feel envious, because we realize that the forced redistribution of that wealth in the long run just makes us all poorer.  Freedom means that, in time of war, good men and women will be asked to risk their lives because we think it better to die free than to live as slaves.  All these things are the price of freedom." -- Dr. Barry S. Fagin†


Is Your Freedom In Danger?

Bill of Rights--Void Where Prohibited by Law!

The Destruction of the Bill of Rights

by Jarret Wollstein

ISIL EDUCATIONAL PAMPHLET SERIES


What defines the character of America and makes this country a good place to live? For over 200 years, our prosperity and liberty were the envy of much of the world. But our prosperity is inseparable from our liberty. Take away our freedom of speech, religion and enterprise, and America would be neither free nor prosperous.

Unique among nations of the modern world, the United States was literally conceived in liberty. The guiding philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason and our other Founding Fathers was the inalienable rights of the individual. As our Declaration of Independence states,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; and that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it.
America's Founders had witnessed horrible demonstrations of the power of unlimited government: destructive taxation, forcible invasions of homes by government agents, interference with free trade, government spying on citizens, corruption and debasement of the legal system, imprisonment and murder of dissenters, and government destruction of churches. To avoid such evils in this country, the Constitution and Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments) were created, as strict limitations on the power of government.

The Bill of Rights protects our freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly. It guarantees our right to keep and bear arms. It prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. It guarantees due process in a court of law, a speedy hearing, and trial by jury. It prohibits excessive bail, fines and punishment. And most important, the Bill of Rights guarantees that rights not explicitly granted to the government, are reserved to us as individuals.

Our Founding Fathers believed that to avoid the evils of corrupt and tyrannical government, the power of government should be limited to protecting citizens from domestic and foreign aggressors. Government was regarded as a moral policeman, stopping force and fraud whenever possible, and otherwise leaving citizens alone to live their lives in peace. Today, 200 years after its passage, the Bill of Rights remains the supreme law of the land, and neither Congress, nor the Supreme Court, nor the President have the moral or legal right to ignore it.

Sadly, government now has strayed very far from the original vision of limited powers. Today there is no aspect of our lives -- public or private -- that government regards as exempt from itts jurisdiction and control. Government now seizes over half our incomes in taxes; regulates every aspect of trade and commerce; censors books, movies and art; scrutinizes our business records and bank accounts; confiscates our guns; taps our telephones and reads our mail; dictates wages and working conditions; regulates our sex lives; and imposes fines and imprisonment without due process of law.

The vision of government as the servant of the people, rather than their master, has been lost.

Here are some examples of how the Bill of Rights is being destroyed:


Amendment One . . .
Freedom Of Speech, Press, Religion, and Assembly

In the name of "national security", government employees are being censored for life. To combat pornography, federal and state governments have imprisoned musicians, seized the entire contents of bookstores and video rental outlets, and have even prosecuted museums and art galleries. To fight drugs, a growing list of communities are enacting curfews and "anti-loitering" laws. To ensure government control of education, church schools have been padlocked. There are now over 350 "anti-obscenity" bills pending in 46 states. Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are under siege.


Amendment Two . . .
Right To Keep and Bear Arms

This right is gradually being destroyed as a growing number of states and communities enact ever more repressive gun control legislation. In the summer of 1990 New Jersey made criminals of over 200,000 of its citizens with the stroke of a pen by banning many popular sporting rifles. As violent crime grows, U.S. citizens need the means to defend themselves more than ever, yet we are being legally disarmed.


Amendment Three . . .
Quartering Of Troops In Private Homes

The government doesn't quarter troops in our homes, but it does destroy our privacy by wiretapping our telephones, seizing business records and keeping extensive files on most citizens.


Amendment Four . . .
Protection From Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Recent Supreme Court decisions have given the police nearly unlimited power to search houses, businesses and cars -- in many cases without a warrant. In Florida, courts have refused to stop police from boarding buses, blocking exits and searching passengers. RICO laws and "anti-drug" laws have given government the power to seize all of an individualís or companyís assets without indictment or trial. Strip-searching persons arrested for even minor traffic violations is becoming more and more common. Courts and legislatures now consider virtually any government search and seizure "reasonable".


Amendment Five . . .
Due Process and Grand Juries

The Founding Fathers believed that no one should be indicted without a hearing. Today the IRS can seize your bank account, the Coast Guard can take your boat, and the welfare authorities can take away your children, without any hearing or indictment by a Grand Jury. Increasingly, fundamental legal restraints on the power of government agencies are being abandoned.


Amendment Six . . .
Right To A Speedy Trial And Court Procedures

The United States has adopted the totalitarian practice of imprisoning defendants for long periods before trial. As a growing list of personal behavior and technical errors are criminalized, the court system is being impossibly overloaded. It now takes years before most serious cases ever get to trial. The growing power of prosecutors, and government seizure of attorneys' fees, are destroying the ability of those accused to defend themselves.


Amendment Seven . . .
Right To Trial By Jury

Less than 3% of persons criminally indicted now get a trial. The threat of lengthy pre-trial detention and asset forfeiture force many innocent people to plead guilty. Legislation is now pending to substitute administrative judges controlled by the Executive Branch for most trials by jury.


Amendment Eight . . .
Prohibition Against Excessive Bail, Fines And Punishment

By calling penalties "civil" rather than "criminal", government can seize all of your assets without trial or any other form of legal proceeding. Bail is being abolished for many crimes, including crimes that didn't even exist ten years ago, such as "money-laundering". Punishments are becoming increasingly harsh. Teenagers are getting years or decades in prison for minor drug offenses. Businessmen are receiving long prison sentences for technical violations of incomprehensible tax laws and securities regulations. Ordinary citizens are being imprisoned for possession of banned literature, guns, and even medicines.


Amendment Nine . . .
Rights Reserved To The Individual

The Constitution and Bill of Rights were intended as strict restrictions on government power. Those powers not explicitly granted to government were retained by the individual. Today the Constitution has been stood on its head. Courts are now saying anything the government wants to do is permissible, unless explicitly prohibited by the Constitution. Government now has nearly unlimited power, and the American people are losing control of their own properties, lives and destinies.


Amendment Ten . . .
Powers Not Granted The Federal Government

Power has shifted from the individual to the state, and from the states to the federal government. Federal aid to states has meant federal control of States. By including the entire economy under "interstate commerce", the Supreme Court has given the Federal Government control over every aspect of society.


RECOMMENDED READING

The Rights Retained By The People (Barnette)
The New Right vs The Constitution (Macedo)
The Power In The People (Felix Morley)
Liberty Reclaimed (Jim Lewis/Jim Peron)
The Law of the Constitution (Dicey)
Freedom and Federalism (Felix Morley)

This pamphlet is produced as a public service by the International Society for Individual Liberty. If you would like to receive free literature about ISIL's activities around the world, and receive a sample copy of the FREEDOM NETWORK NEWS newsletter and book catalog, please write:

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY
1800 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94102
Tel: (415) 864-0952 Fax: (415) 864-7506

Go to the list of pamphlets.†
Translated into html by Scott Banister [banister@uiuc.edu]

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