There’s a lot going on in our nation and the world right, and that’s probably an understatement. There are virus shut-downs and rumors of virus shut downs. There are vaccine passports and rumors of vaccine passports. There are mask mandates and various other mandates all re-appearing across the nation. And then there’s the tragedy that is occurring across the ocean in Afganistan… to mention a few of the recent events heavy on people’s hearts and minds.
With this blog, I work very hard to avoid being a political pundent. That’s not what I’m here to do. There are plenty political pundents out there for y’all to read if you want raging political opinions, sprinkled with facts and laden with emotional but usually devoid of any Constitutional implications. However, that does NOT mean that I don’t hold strong opinions about what’s going on in the world today or that I don’t have emotional reactions to current events. I just have to continually force myself to back up and frame all my opinions and emotions in the context of the Constitution.
So, for today, I figured I’d tackle some of these highly sensitive current events from the perspective of the Constitution. This is how ALL Americans and especially government officials, should be handling every aspect of politics today if we’re going to have any chance of saving liberty. So, as you read, remember…I’m NOT giving you my opinions here, I’m giving you the basics of how the Constitution and the Republic work regarding certain highly touchy subjects, regardless of how I personally feel about those subjects (e.g. mask mandates regardless of my personal feelings or beliefs about masks).
One: Mask Mandates Are Best at the County/City Level
America is a federalism. This means that power is distributed throughout multiple different levels and forms of government. Given that it’s broken up and distributed so immensely, it’s difficult for any single force of power to consolidate power and tyrannize over a vast amount of people (e.g. New York City mandates may be considered tyrannical but they affect a small subset of the whole of the U.S. population).
The founders knew that they key to protecting and promoting liberty was limited government power. The only way to limit power is to govern government. In other words, government must be accountable to something outside of itself, something that both gives it power and therefore confines its power. It’s power is not arbitrary because it’s power that comes directly from that which gives it power.
In the U.S., the Constitution both defines and confines federal power. Then each of the 50 states have their own Constitutions, which define and confine state power. At the city and county level, each city and county have a charter, effectively the Constitution for the city and county, that defines and confines the power of the cities and counties. These are effectively the job descriptions of each level of government.
It’s critical that we are aware and actively involved in knowing what each of these job descriptions say so that we are able to effectively respond to government actions according to what each level of government is empowered to do. In other words, how effective are we at keeping each level of government accountable to their specific job descriptions if we don’t even know what they’re job descriptions say?
Further, if any level of government is going to handle issues such as masks or vaccines, it should only be the city and county and only according to their charter. We must understand where to fight whatever battle we are fighting and never escalate the issue up a level if it should not be escalated (escalating it only increases the chances that the broader level of power will end up taking more power).
I know I’m speaking broadly here but that’s intentional. I don’t know the details of every city and county charter in all the various states. However, I do know that you must turn to your local government’s job descriptions (Constitutions) rather than the state or federal Constitutions when looking to protect yourself from mandates you feel are infringing on your liberty at a local level. In other words, if you’re angry that your local county mandated something you disagreed with, step back for a second and be thankful that it’s just the county, not the state and heaven forbid the federal government. Then take the strategic approach of finding out what the charter of your city or county empowers your city or county to mandate. Now you have something actionable to work with. If you want more information about how all of this works, I encourage you to read this article on local government charters.
Two: Private Companies, Under the Current Constitution, Can Mandate, Within Reason, Whatever They Want
So, at a political event the other day, one of the ladies, in a very impassioned and emotional speech to her representatives, said that she was not going to “stick a needle in her because the business required it” or wear a mask for the same reason. I understand the sentiment and the frustration that many people are having. But there also needs to be a distinction made between government enforcement of masks, vaccines and the like, and private enforcement of them.
This is where the irony of liberty and limited government really hits home. Government, according to the federal Constitution as well as many state Constitutions (and charters for some counties and cities), cannot tell a private business or individual what or how to handle issues like masks or vaccines. When governments do this, they are violating their job descriptions.
That being said, if a private business requires masks or vaccines for workers or customers, technically, that business has that right (now some lawyers may be able to find ways to apply “civil rights” issues or standing laws to this scenario). But consider, if you owned your own business, you wouldn’t want the government to tell you one way or the other how to handle an issue like COVID. It’s your business.
This is where things gets dicey. Because of liberty, businesses have grown, flourished and turned into corporations. Corporations are not owned by any single individual and essentially are the monsters liberty created. Some corporations have grown to such immense levels of power that they are able to coerce policy in their favor and enforce social norms on society. In other words, government is confined by the Constitution. It can’t technically force social norms and behavior; but there’s no Constitution confining the arbitrary and limitless power of a private, massive corporation.
My point being, if you’re upset about a private business mandating masks or not mandating masks, but the company made that decision on their (not coerced by government) own, that company is operating under the freedom it was given under the Constitution and principle of limited government.
Does this mean that private companies are incapable of tyranny? Certainly not. It’s just a different kind of tyranny, one that exists because of a limited government.
Four: All Wars MUST Be Declared By Congress
This is a simple but gravely important reality. ALL wars (whether termed conflicts or wars or engagements) are ONLY Constitutionally declared and funded by Congress. Only Congress can “raise”, meaning, by law, “create” and, “support”, meaning, by law “fund” what they’ve created: the military.
It makes perfect sense if you think of it terms of how the Senate was elected—via state legislatures—and it makes even more sense because the STATES really have a vested interest in whether or not they want to, as a unified force, go to war. Further, the people individually need to have their say through the House if they’re going to send their sons and daughters to die. Hence, ONLY Congress is imbued with the power to declare war. Also, no individual state can randomly choose to go to war with an other country, which is why making war is a federal power.
The president possessing the unilateral, undefined power of waging war is dangerous and unconstitutional. In other words, everything about the handling of the Afganistan situation is unconstitutional, from the very start. There’s a reason our government was intended to follow the law that governs it, meaning the Constitution.
Few would argue that Biden handled this Afganistan situation well; but, this situation wouldn’t have had to be “handled” if the Constitution had been followed in the first place.
Five: All of These Aforementioned Realities Can Be True and Still Not Change My Emotional Reaction to Them
I have personal reactions and emotions to all of the events happening today. I’m grieved and angered by the senseless deaths of soldiers and the innocent in Afganistan. I’m facing potential job loss because of newly implemented regulations. I’m personally affected by all of the corporate control and influence over our lives. Yet, even in all of this, I know that my goal, my job, is simple.
I’m here to educate and inform as many American citizens about the truth, the basics and the beauty of the U.S. Constitution. I’ll do this until I can’t. And who knows? It’s true that a well educated citizenry is the only citizenry who can protect liberty and maybe, just maybe, the more I spread the word, educate and inform, the more Americans everywhere will stand up with confidence, rooted in knowledge, to save this great Republic.
The Liberty Belle