Principles of Constitutionalism: The Moral Basis for the Constitution in Natural Law

Written by Tim Dunkin on . Posted in Guest Articles

Publisher's note:  This is the second in a series of discussions on the State of America and the mis-application of the U.S. Constitution.  Tim Dunkin has very meticulously laid out this subject in easy to understand terms.

Tim Dunkin:  In the previous installment of this series, we saw that the Constitution, as the foundational law of the land, is to enjoy a position of primacy over and above any and all other laws, offices, and authorities in our nation.  Yet, the question may be asked, why is this so?  The question may be answered by looking to founding ideas about natural law, from which then flows the idea of natural rights which our Constitution enshrines and affirms (but does not “give”).  

From Cicero to Blackstone, natural law theory was perhaps THE key concept in the thinking of the generation which fought the Revolution against Britain and then established our constitutional republican form of government. But what is natural law?  Essentially, natural law theory embodies a set of related ideas about the fundamental origination of “law” as an ordering principle in the universe.  This law is universal – it applies everywhere and at all times, explicitly rejecting the concept of “moral relativism” – because it originated from the God who created the universe.  For Cicero and other pre-Christian pagan thinkers, this god was pantheistic or panentheistic in nature, but the concept easily transferred over into Christian thinking from earliest times due to the compatibility with the Christian conception of a monotheistic, all-powerful, all-knowing, and over-archingly sovereign God who created the universe and continues to overrule and superintend it.   

For the colonists, natural law was considered to be completely compatible, and in many cases coeval, with God’s law as given by revelation.  In his Commentaries on the Laws of England (which were extremely popular and influential in American intellectual circles both before and after the Revolution), the jurist William Blackstone identified God as the Author of both natural law and special revelation, essentially arguing that they came from the same Source,

“..This has given manifold occasion for the benign interposition of divine Providence, which, in compassion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindness of human reason, hath been pleased, at sundry times and in divers manners, to discover and enforce its laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature, as they tend in all their consequences to man's felicity. But we are not from thence to conclude that the knowledge of these truths was attainable by reason, in its present corrupted state since we find that, until they were revealed, they were hid from the wisdom of the ages."

What Blackstone is arguing is that there is an essential unity between natural law and special revelation – they come from the same God, and therefore cannot contradict each other.  Natural law was believed by these later theorists to be the unspoken, yet immutably true, outflowing of God’s purposes and benevolence toward man. Further, however, natural law was understood to be applicable to all men, in all nations, at all times.  Blackstone again wrote,

"This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over the entire globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this;... upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these."

Elsewhere, Rufus King, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, said,

" established by the Creator...extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind...This is the law of God by which he makes his way known to man and is paramount to all human control." 

Because natural law was understood to be universal, it was therefore understood to exist outside of and before any human governments.  From the time of Hobbes onward, a commonly used picture (treated more as a logical hypothesis than as an actual chronological fact) to describe man in his primal position was that of the “state of nature,” in which mankind exists apart from government. In this state of nature, man was in full possession of all of his natural rights - those rights such as property, self-assertion, self-defense, etc. which were the common property of all, as a result of their creation at the hand of God.  However, in the state of nature, there was no limit to what a man might do or take, apart from his inability to force himself onto someone else through raw power.  As the Rev. John Hurt stated in 1777,

“The miseries of the state of nature are so evident, that there is no occasion to display them; every man is sensible that violence, rapine, and slaughter must be continually practiced where no restraints are provided to curb the inordinancy of self-affection.”

In other words, in the state of nature apart from some sort of regulation of his behavior, mankind will always tend towards the assertion of his own rights, even to the harm and death of other men. This commonly understood proposition rested on the fact that even though man is created in the image of God, and enjoys from his Creator the inalienable rights that God granted through His own natural law, man nevertheless has a sin nature that leads him to abuse this power and to seek to tyrannize over other men.  The denial of the rights of others were those things especially that were forbidden by Scripture – murdering, rape, theft, extortion, etc.  A “tyrant” in both the thinking of the ancients as well as modern liberty philosophers, was a man who stepped outside the boundaries of his own rights and infringed on those of another.

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Principles of Constitutionalism: The Primacy of the Constitution

Written by Tim Dunkin on . Posted in Guest Articles

Publisher's note:  This is the first in a series of discussions on the State of America and the mis-application of the U.S. Constitution.  Tim Dunkin has done an amazing job of spelling it out so that even liberals will get it.

Tim Dunkin:  The United States of America are in a bad way.  All around us we are seeing the fruits of a people who have forgotten the first principles that gave our nation that it had originally.   We were founded as a constitutional republic.  What this means is that our entire political system, in which we participate indirectly, is supposed to be governed by the Constitution.  Yet, we have strayed from this, and many, many people in this nation do not even really understand either the purpose or the workings of that document, because they have never learned them, nor even thought about them.

One of my desires is to increase awareness of what the Constitution means, and how it is to be rightly applied.  As such, I have conceived of the idea of trying to present a series of articles devoted to explaining the principles which underlie our constitutionalism, that effort to regain and then maintain our nation's traditional adherence to the Constitution and the liberty worldview which flows from it.  

To begin this series, I want to begin at the beginning (of course).  If we as conservatives and liberty lovers, people who want to educate those around us back toward a more constitutional view of our political system, are to succeed in this goal, then we need to have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of our own philosophy.  

So before anything else is said about the Constitution or how to apply it or what any of its particular parts mean, we must first firmly settle in our own hearts and minds upon the principle of the primacy of that document in the earthly laws and organization of government in these United States. 

Simply put – there is nothing in any subsidiary law made by Congress, in any executive agency, in any executive order which the President may wish to make, that overrules the Constitution.  From an under the sun perspective, in the United States the Constitution is THE standard against which everything aspiring to the status of law must be measured.  In 1886, the Supreme Court plainly stated this principle,

“An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." (Norton vs. Shelby County, 118 US 425)

Bluntly, if a law or other act of government contradicts the Constitution, then that act, law, statute, regulation, or whatever else is null and void.  

Let's think a little bit about how that applies.  Obviously, an act of Congress that contradicts the plain wording of the Constitution is a dead letter on its face.  So should an executive order from the President.  So should administrative rules made by federal agencies.  That much is easy to understand.

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St. Swisher Sweets and the Lies That Set Ferguson on Fire

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Guest Articles

Publisher's note:  Tim Dunkin is an occasional contributor to The Patriots Press.  As always, his thoughts are insightful and right on target.  In today's brief article, Tim discusses the Ferguson debacle in very clear, concise terms and dispels a lot of the nonsense.  

I could not have said it better myself.

Tim Dunkin:  Now that the smoke seems to be clearing somewhat from the remains of what used to be Ferguson, Missouri, we as a society find ourselves once again witnessing a travesty built upon falsehoods and a willingness on the part of some in our nation to create discord and mistrust for their own selfish ends.  Unfortunately, these efforts have resulted in great destruction to property, physical harm and death to several individuals, and a widening of the racial rift that threatens to balkanize our country. 

Let’s be honest here – the blame for all of this can be laid squarely at the feet of the Left. The fault for this is borne by a President and his “Just Us” Department which actively fomented the rioting and looting.  It also lies with the racial grievance industry and its current CEO, the “Reverend” Al Sharpton.  Likewise, fault for the death and destruction is shared by the so-called “social justice” warriors that crowd of left-wing trustafarian white college kids who specialize in protesting and engineering civil strife as they prepare for their long and fruitful careers in the field of Postmodern Social Deconstructive Theory (or whatever).  

And this entire movement to make Ferguson emblematic of the problems caused by “white privilege” and its attendant “hostility” toward African-Americans has been, is, and will almost assuredly continue to be built completely upon lies.  Literally, the entire structure of the Left’s narrative about Ferguson is false.  It’s nothing more than a sick, deadly combination of wishful thinking and purposeful falsehood.  

The first lie about Ferguson was that anyone on the Left actually cared about the outcome of the grand jury proceedings, or that its findings were going to have any effect on their opinions.  For liberals, it was already a foregone conclusion – the only job the jury had was to “do the right thing” and vote to indict Darren Wilson, regardless of what the actual evidences might or might not say.  The Left did not care in the least about the rule of law, the rules of evidence, or facts as they actually exist – only the narrative mattered, and the narrative was already determined from the very beginning.  

The grand jury – which was not “cherry-picked,” but had actually already been seated prior to the time that the shooting in Ferguson even took place – spent months hearing the evidence.  They listened to dozens of eyewitness statements.  They heard the forensic evidences, the autopsies, the expert reports, and the DNA findings.  And this multiracial grand jury came to the conclusion that there was not cause to render a “true bill,” i.e. sufficient evidence to indict and proceed to trial.  Yet, the left-wing fanatics in this country don’t care about all that.  They don’t care about evidences, about facts, about truth.

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Dark America....a poem

Written by Ryan Byrd on . Posted in Guest Articles

Publisher’s note:  There is hope for American youth.  I frequently come across different articles and thoughts from readers, and as far as I can remember, this is the first piece of poetry I’ve ever had grace the pages of The Patriots Press.  

The author, Ryan Byrd, is a 26 year old native of South Florida and is a true Patriot.  He is an aspiring writer with many passions who has overcome many obstacles in his lifetime and always tries to find the good where there seems to be none.  

He is a very insightful young man who loves America and obviously has a firm grasp of what is going on in our nation and the world.  Writing straight from the heart, he makes the reader think of what we so easily might forget with all the stuff going on all the time.  

I offer my sincere thanks to Ryan for sharing this with me so that I can share it with my readers.

Ryan Byrd:  Dark America...

It's not the men in suits, then who?  The higher ups, it's always a cover up.

Saying it’s controversial, I say what's constitutional.  What's educational when a system is broken, when the voices aren't spoken? 

Like a puppet on a string, the national anthem we can't sing.

We can't pray, say what we wanna say, it won't end today.  We will keep living forever, even in a dark America.

The soldiers can't breathe, we fall to our knees.  We want to believe that there are patriots that stay true to the steadfast glory of the red, white, and blue.

The debt, the body count…they all rise with the White House of lies.

Our pride might be broken, but we will not be shaken.

We will still move forward and onward.

In a dark America we still live forever.

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Betrayed...again and again! Billy and Karen Vaughn speak out.

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Guest Articles

Publisher’s note:  Because of an immense national and personal tragedy for them, I have over the past couple of years been blessed to meet and become acquainted with Billy and Karen Vaughn.  While I love them dearly and always will, I so wish that I never had the 'opportunity’ to meet them and that they and their beautiful family could have simply gone on with their former wonderfully normal, happy, and inconspicuous lives.

But that wasn’t to be because on August 6, 2011, their son Aaron and 37 other souls were set up like sitting ducks and sent on a critical mission in what amounts to a flying school bus without air or ground support, and they were shot down by what has been loosely described as a "lucky” shot with an RPG, (Rocket Propelled Grenade).  It actually would have been a "lucky” shot if the normal, proper, high-tech, fast moving equipment was used and they had been granted normal, and very much requested air support with suppressive fire; however hitting such a huge, slow moving, heavily laden target with a very powerful 'small arm’ at such relatively close range, with all the time in the world to take aim would be like falling out of a boat and hitting the water for anyone else.

It was because of that horror caused by the absolute, deliberate ineptness of the most criminal and treasonous administration in our nation’s history that I met Billy and Karen.  Thankfully and by the Grace of God, they have been able to muster the strength and put aside their anguished grief enough to travel and tell their story, which speaks for so many others, in a variety of venues.  The letter below, which says it all and appeared in World Tribune on 8/27/2014 was written by the Vaughns in response to the recent, vile murder of James Foley by our latest and most virulent enemy to date which was spawned in large part by Barack Obama’s complete lack of leadership in all matters.

May God continue to comfort and bless Billy and Karen and their family as they share their vitally important message.

Billy and Karen Vaughn:

After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.

My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.

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