Eroding liberty through kleptocracy
By Linda A. Prussen-Razzano
The Constitution, the foundation of our form of government, reigns supreme in enumerating those rights we, as individual human beings, claim by sheer virtue of our humanity. The delicate balance of power between the various branches of government and the repeated emphasis on individual liberties stands as a testament to the genius of the Founding Fathers. They carefully listed those rights necessary for individuals to pursue, unfettered, their own unique destiny, while at the same time allowing certain powers to the States to ensure the preservation of the rights of others. Thus, while not politically correct in historical hindsight, those allowances eventually saw that all citizens were recognized with equal certainty before the law.
In a word: brilliant.
Often overlooked is the reality that the Bill of Rights does not afford us our "rights," it merely enumerates those that we already possess. It does not grant us "rights," like a king making bequests; these rights are "inherent," ours by birth. This underlying belief structure, this "foundation" principle, embodies us not just with the protection of the government, but - equally - protection from the government. Further, the 9th Amendment, which suggests that additional rights can be claimed by The People, and the 10th Amendment, which returns all remaining power to The People, were included to prevent the government from exercising future undue powers, powers not specifically granted, through a warped interpretation of the Constitution.
The true brilliance of the Constitution stems not just from our properly recognized and enumerated rights, but from a willingness to not acknowledge "rights" where none exist. Aside from the personal responsibilities accompanying each of our rights, they also incorporate an interesting sociopolitical dichotomy: a method to shield ourselves from abuse by the government, while, at the same time, a tacit invitation to use the power of the government to ensure the free exercise of those rights. Hence, a person may freely exercise their rights, and can call on the government to prevent others from prohibiting their free exercise of said rights.
Unlike contemporary scholars, politicians, and advertisers, the Founding Fathers did not slap the label "right" on every situation or cause. There was no "right" to be rich, no "right" to be educated, no "right" to be happy. While society as a whole would be far better if everyone were, indeed, rich, educated, and happy, the Founding Fathers did not foresee a world where the government should be used to cure all ills, satisfy all needs, and afford everyone a comfortable lifestyle.
Why? Because all of these things increase the size and power of government to such an extent that individuals are prevented from doing the one thing that makes any nation great - pursuing their own destinies. Governments that monitor every aspect of an individual's life are not representative Republics, they are Communist States of occupation.
This, perhaps, is why the ever-increasing list of "human rights," as promulgated by the United Nations, grows more troubling. These "rights" are being incorporated into treaties, treaties which, under Constitutional Law, are binding on the United States. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states, "[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur." Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution states, "The judicial Power [of the Supreme Court] shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority." Finally, Article VI of the Constitution states, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
In short, the language of the Constitution itself can be interpreted that treaties, entered into with the consent of 67 Senators, will be treated as Law in the United States; supreme Law, in fact, should they not violate the spirit of the Constitution. Considering that the 9th Amendment, added to ensure future protections against the uncertainty of time and circumstance, is open to the interpretation of claimed, yet unnamed, rights, the "inclusion" of the United Nation's "human rights" might not, depending on the whim of Supreme Court justice reviewing this, violate the Constitution.
Broad interpretations would expose American citizens to the dictates of International Law, even if said law violates Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution and our 10th Amendment rights.
The United Nations serves as a useful tool to settle world disputes; however, it should not have the power to make law for the people of the United States or affect our government in the name of international "human rights." Further, the terms of International Criminal Court treaty imply that even if our Constitutional process is not followed, even if the President does not sign the treaty and it is not ratified by our Senate, the ICC still can claim authority over American citizens.
This is simply not tolerable.
Unfortunately, the American people have been lulled into this bizarre belief that they must accept International Law as a given, that the United Nations is somehow a beneficent working body of concerned Ambassadors and Diplomats. On the contrary, some of the programs supported by the United Nations directly contravene the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that we, as Americans, hold so dear. Moreover, each time we recognize a law higher than the Constitution, that sacred document which should stand as the highest law in our country, we invite kleptocrats into our backyard, our pocketbooks, and our lives. The United Nations can only claim authority so long as our politicians chose to recognize it.
Our involvement in the United Nations should cease. President Elect Bush should reject Clinton's last minute signature of the International Criminal Court treaty, which would allow our service men and women to be punitively prosecuted before a "world court" simply for following orders in the line of duty. We should refrain from sending millions of dollars annually to support population control efforts in impoverished countries, efforts that include the coerced sterilization of powerless women and the abortion of underprivileged children. We should return to the Constitutional form of trade negotiations, on a country by country basis, to protect American workers and businesses against unfair trade practices.
In short, we should stop selling out our liberty to kleptocrats and bureaucrats. We have enough of them already in our various branches of Government; we owe no allegiance to their power-hungry partners across the globe.
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