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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Jun 30, 2009 3:37 PM PDT

Consensus is necessary not only to form a democratic government, but to ensure its continuity. Forged in the fire of a war for independence, the American experiment was agreed to under duress. The new Constitution contained a compromise that made conflict inevitable. 

The Civil War became necessary to abolish the arrangement of convenience that ignored the self-evident truth that Blacks were among those endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. American society can never progress unless it moves forward with the intent to protect the rights of all from the tyranny of the majority or of powerful minorities within it.

This does not mean that individual liberty is the supreme virtue. Such extreme libertarianism, or radical individualism, is precisely where the ship of state took a seriously wrong turn to the right. It is headed straight for an iceberg as a result. The adults among us must now grab the tiller and correct our course, lest we all suffer the consequences of the Titanic arrogance of our erstwhile “leaders.” It is time to rethink and renegotiate the social contract into which we freely entered when we formed these United States of America.

The rewriting of the social contract Americans made with one another is not without precedent. When the loose amalgamation of colonies organized under the Articles of Confederation proved incapable of working together for the common interest during the war, a group of prominent concerned citizens assembled under no constitutional authority to consider a new Constitution to unite the states. 

Heeding Jefferson’s argument that the people have a right to alter or abolish a government which does not serve the people, they assembled a constitutional convention that only later sought the imprimatur of the American people. 

The new constitution contained a provision to allow for future such conventions as the changing times demanded, for the purpose of preserving the union by further clarification of the rights of citizens in American society. This was only one way to change the Constitution or its interpretation, the others being through the exercise of the powers of Congress or the Supreme Court.

Congress has been too corrupted by the pernicious power of corporations to do the job. It is futile to wait for the Supreme Court to recognize and reverse its error in deciding that corporations possess human rights under the Fourteenth amendment. Lawyers by nature tend to be conservative, being bound by precedent and respecting that this is the means by which we remain a nation of laws and not of men. 

It is therefore ironic that the most “conservative” of jurists, those on the Supreme Court, rejected decades of precedent in accepting this argument. It Tappears that they did so to counter Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to curb corporate power, and was based on a misinterpretation of a ruling against a railroad corporation two decades earlier. It is therefore left to the people to explicitly state by constitutional amendment that the Fourteenth amendment only applies to humans.

Once again, we need to make a conscious decision to choose the nature of our society. While maintaining the American tradition of religious tolerance, let us recognize that the worship of Ayn Rand is not a religion and therefore the acolytes of this faith are undeserving of the tax benefits accorded to them. 

It is past time for them to admit the error of their thinking and seek the forgiveness of those who they have harmed, atoning out of genuine contrition for the sins they committed in the name of our government. If the American people are properly educated, they will show that they are good enough to reject the Faustian bargain of fleeting wealth for more eternal values.

In the immortal words of Buffalo Springfield:

There's something happening here.
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there
telling me I got to beware.

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound?

Everybody look what's going down.

There's battle lines being drawn.

Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
getting so much resistance from behind.

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?

Everybody look what's going down.

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street.
Singing songs and carrying signs
mostly say, hooray for our side.

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?

Everybody look what's going down.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid.
You step out of line, the man come and take you away.

We better stop, hey, what's that sound?

Everybody look what's going down.
Stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

Stop, now, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.
Stop, children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Sailing toward Sitka, Alaska to unite with my companion, Karen.

1 comment:

  1. This essay owes its title and major theme to the author of the book Consencus and continuity, which I read in 1980 for the one and only class I took in Political Science. The author was Benjamin Fletcher Wright.

    This class provided a valuable gounding in US history and the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting laws passed by Congress. I recall with mild amusement my horror at sitting in class when the 1980 election results were announced. Nost of the class shared my recognition of the significance of the fact that the American people had chosen the star of Bedtime for Bonzo as our President.

    Reagan has left us with a mixed legacy. He famously admonished Gorbachov to "Tear down that wall!" that separated East and West Germany. He is unfairly credited with bringing about the fall of Russian communism as a result of his ruinously expensive military buildup. The truth is of course that communism as practiced in the USSR was doomed by its inefficiency to failure due to ultimate economic collapse. A nation cannot long endure by subjegating and terrorizing its own people.

    The irony is that Russia ultimately fell because of its own choice to iinvade Afghanistan, the graveyard of Empires. The US has repeated this idiocy because our great leader George IV was completely ignorant of US or world history. It is an illustration of the need for the American people to keep a close watch on government if we are to preserve the freedoms we hold dear. This requires a public who understands the history of our nation and does not rely on an increasingly Orwellian view of it.

    The Supreme Court gave us President Shrub, in open defiance of the Constitutional separation of power between Federal and State government. The American people tolerated this because they too are ignorant of our history and because the tyranny of the minority was allowed to prevail over the good of the people.

    The men and women on the Court are deliberately chosen from among the most conservative jurists in the nation in the hope that they will make change slowly and carefully, respecting legal precedent and the limits of the power of a body that is selected for life to protect the Constitution and our freedom.

    The Supreme Court has degenerated into a rubber stamp for the corporate agenda. Having been selected by the very tools of the Puppetmasters of the Senate, these meat puppets have used divisions the Republican and Democratic Parties have created in our society to place counter-Revolutionaries in positions of trust in the highest Court in the land. Is it any wonder that we now have to take matters into our own hands to Take Back America for the People?


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