"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?
The Destruction of the Bill of Rights
by Jarret Wollstein
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
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 . . .
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.
Freedom Of Speech, Press, Religion, and Assembly
Amendment Two . . .
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.
Right To Keep and Bear Arms
Amendment Three . . .
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.
Quartering Of Troops In Private Homes
Amendment Four . . .
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".
Protection From Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Amendment Five . . .
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.
Due Process and Grand Juries
Amendment Six . . .
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
Right To A Speedy Trial And Court Procedures
Amendment Seven . . .
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.
Right To Trial By Jury
Amendment Eight . . .
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.
Prohibition Against Excessive Bail, Fines And Punishment
Amendment Nine . . .
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.
Rights Reserved To The Individual
Amendment Ten . . .
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
Powers Not Granted The Federal Government
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