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Resisting Tyranny: A Universal Right
Friday, 24 December 2010
"...when a long train of abuses and usurpations (establishes) absolute despotism, it is [the public's] right, it is their duty, to throw off such government," replacing it with one serving everyone equitably.
In America's Declaration of Independence, Jefferson declared:
Long established governments shouldn't "be changed for light and transient causes....But when a long train of abuses and usurpations (establishes) absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government," replacing it with one serving everyone equitably.
In addition, Jefferson said "Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God." Women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony also said "I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim that 'Resistance to tyranny it obedience to God.' "
In his second Treatise of Government, as part of his social contract theory, English philosopher John Locke, the Father of Liberalism, addressed the "Right of Revolution," saying:
In other words, people have supreme power. Governments are instituted to serve them. When they fail, replacing them is their rightful choice, including by revolution.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote:
Martin Luther King wrote:
King's strategy, his hoped for cycle of justice, was to disobey unjust laws, accept punishment, arouse public awareness, advocate legislative corrections, have them enacted, and change society beneficially. He practiced nonviolent civil disobedience, not revolution, no matter how just the latter. Importantly, however, he believed that fighting injustice depends on civil action. He defended it on moral grounds, saying "the time is always ripe to do right." He also said:
Published originally in 1849 as "Resistance to Civil Government," Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" is an important landmark essay, Thoreau saying:
Slavery, America's Mexican War, and unjust government motivated Thoreau to argue that no one has a duty to surrender his (or her) conscience to injustice. One way is by refusing to pay taxes for imperial wars. Another is by disobeying unjust laws. They deserve no respect, he said, and should be broken.
Famed essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson agreed, believing, on moral grounds, that unjust laws should be resisted. His "Representative Men" essays and campaign against slavery expressed his philosophy. As a committed abolishionist, he wrote:
Slavery still exists in America, a topic an earlier article addressed.
Besides growing wage slavery, its forms are involuntary prostitution and sex services, domestic service, exploitive agriculture, sweatshops, restaurant and hotel work, and sexually exploiting children. It persists below the radar because regulatory prohibitions don't exist or aren't enforced.
The "Nullification" Concept
In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson espoused "nullification" dogma that unjust governments should be abolished and replaced. Unjust laws also, those doing more harm than good or no good at all. Jefferson authored the 1798 Kentucky Resolve to nullify John Adams' Sedition Act, a law against free political speech, in which he wrote:
Also in 1798, Madison authored a similar Virginia Resolve, saying:
Modern nullificationists have Jefferson and Madison as precedents, besides figures like St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Thoreau, Emerson, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi's spirit and satyagraha (truth force) - resisting tyranny by mass civil disobedience, in his case nonviolently.
In his book "Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century," Thomas E. Woods, Jr. wrote:
He explained "nullification," how it works, and why figures like Jefferson and Madison envisioned it as a constitutional tool individual states could use against the federal usurpations of their rights.
It means they can use their sovereign authority to nullify unjust federal laws regarding free speech, trade (like the WTO and NAFTA), unconstitutional searches and seizures, federalizing militias, military conscription, and lawless measures like the USA Patriot Act.
A key theme is that competing jurisdictions give liberty more breathing room as opposed to centralized unchallenged authority. It's vital to American freedoms. It champions checking absolute power, an idea more relevant now than ever against growing federal tyranny, heading the country for bankruptcy and ruin.
Advocacy for Palestinian Nullification
On November 27 Reuters headlined, "Hamas: Palestinians must resist against Israel in West Bank," saying:
Haaretz writer Gideon Levy agrees, telling The Real News Network (TRNN) last December 4:
Even a unified PA under Arafat, a strong leader, accomplished nothing. Divisions now between Fatah and Hamas assure failure. Israel knows it. So does Washington, Hamas and Fatah. It's time they said so publicly. Meshal did earlier and again on November 27.
A Final Comment
Israel's new referendum law defines Jerusalem as its "eternal and indivisible" capital, as well as requiring a two-thirds Knesset majority to cede East Jerusalem land to the Palestinians or in Golan to Syria. Failing that, either withdrawal would be subject to a national referendum. In other words, Jews alone will decide whether or not to return some stolen land. Those losing it have no say.
Israeli Professor Galia Golan called it an obstacle to peace, saying:
In his November 28 article titled, "Israel can't put occupation up for immoral referendum," Gideon Levy called it:
Eventually, all land Israel wants will be confiscated, developed solely for Jews. Nothing will remain to negotiate, and Israel will accomplish its goal - an exclusive Greater Israel, Jerusalem totally Judaized. Palestinians will be confined to worthless contonized scrub lands, exploited as beasts of burden, virtual slaves with no rights, no land, no capital, and no peace.
What better time and place for nullification, a proud people determined to resist, perhaps inspiring indifferent Americans to do likewise.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on December 24, 2010.