SOME SIMPLE TRUTHS?
1. This ( The USA) is a free country!
2. Ignorance of the law is no excuse!
3. We are a nation of laws, not of men!
4.”The Wild West.”
5. Civil Rights promoted liberty.
1. A Free Country?
If The USA is a free country today (2007) what was it fifty years ago or seventy or in 1907? If you have a few decades of life behind you then you know how our freedoms have been whittled away. Adolf Hitler’s Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, reportedly said that if you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it; but you must tell it the same way every time. We have heard, and sang, of “the land of the free and the home of the brave” so much, and for so long, that we accept it as truth without giving it a second thought.
Perhaps it is time we took an honest look at our nation and ask ourselves if all these regulations and legalities, we are subjected to, really amount to liberty. Someone has said that if you will not be governed by ten commandments then you will be governed by ten thousand. The fact of the matter is that in America today “ten thousand commandments” is a drop in the bucket beside what we are actually governed by. Thus comes proposition #2.
2. Ignorance of the law is no excuse?
I reside in Salem, Indiana. Drive northwest from here about 50 miles and you arrive at Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University. On the western edge of the campus you will find the law school and the law library. Enter the law library and you will be confronted with thousands of law books which include statutes enacted by the state and the federal government, along with numberless court rulings based on these statutes which then become part of the law. Do a little research and you will find numerous regulations supposedly based on these statutes and rulings. Do you know all of these statutes and court rulings? I think not.
We don’t need the proverbial Philadelphia lawyer to tell us that murder, rape, theft, arson, assault, and perjury are wrong and unlawful. If the requirements of the law were limited to this then ignorance of the law would very definitely be no excuse. But the “law” in our “land of the free” is much more far-reaching than this. Many things are seemingly legal until you cross a state line to do it. It may be legal until you use the mail to do it. Our laws are so complex that no one really knows what they are. An “expert” on the federal income tax had occasion to research a tax question. Not finding an answer he inquired of the IRS and eventually worked his way to the very top and presented his question there. The answer he received was, “maybe.” How does one obey “maybe”?
A friend of mine, Jerry, once appeared before Judge Gene Brooks in the U.S. District Court in Evansville, Indiana on a federal income tax matter. Judge Brooks asked Jerry if he understood Title 26, the income tax law. Jerry responded, “yes.” Judge Brooks said he didn’t believe he did, as he didn’t think anybody understood Title 26. How does a judge enforce a law nobody understands?
The above is about income tax law but you can go into virtually any other area of the law and find the same thing. Lawyers make a good living arguing about what the statutes passed by the legislature mean. Then judges make rulings concerning these “laws.” How are you or I supposed to know in advance how the judge will rule? All of which brings me to proposition number 3.
3. We are a nation of laws, not of men!
Often trial courts make decisions based on their interpretation of the law. More often than not these rulings are appealed. Then sometimes these appeals make it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where the nine justices make their ruling. Sometimes these rulings are not unanimous and sometimes the court is divided five to four. With the decision of the majority comes an “opinion.” Often the overruled minority issues their opinion also.
Question! Since when did laws have opinions? I thought it was people who had opinions. If we are ruled by the “opinion,” of the majority of the court, are we not ruled by men, not laws? If I am wrong about this, I await your correction. Pardon me if I do not hold my breath until you straighten me out.
Strike another of our popular, accepted “truths.”
4. “The Wild West.”
Have you ever heard of “The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. How about Bonnie and Clyde, or Baby Face Nelson, John Dillenger or Ma Barker? Just how do Billy the Kid, John Wesley Harden, the James brothers and other famous western outlaws make the west wilder than the wild East. It seems I just saw where someone has recently written a book on this very subject. It seems to me that the actions of the outlaws of yesterday pale in significance to the hijacking of airliners and flying them into the twin towers and the pentagon.
This is just another example of how if we hear something enough, we tend to accept it as truth whether it has any basis in fact or not.
5. Civil Rights Promoted Liberty.
I feel that most would agree that minorities, especially blacks, have more liberties and opportunities now than they did before the civil rights acts and the efforts made on their behalf back in the ‘60s. But does that mean there is more liberty? I used to see signs in restaurants that said, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” These signs were everywhere and seemingly, nobody questioned them. The owner of a business could serve the public, or not serve the public, as he saw fit, and did not need to explain his reasons for doing so to anyone. I don’t see these signs anymore. Then there was school busing; maybe your children could attend public school where you wanted them to and maybe not. There is much more in this vain that could be sited but the point is that in giving more “rights” to some, liberty to others was greatly restricted. While the minorities gained, the overall population retained less liberties. “Civil Rights” may have promoted racial equality but they did not promote liberty.
I wonder, if we were to think about it for awhile, just how many more accepted “truths” we could discover that cannot stand the light of day?