November 30, 2021

Polity

Polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of institutional social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize resources

| What Are Individual Rights? Definition and Examples

By Robert Longley – from ThoughtCo.com

Individual rights are the rights needed by each individual to pursue their lives and goals without interference from other individuals or the government. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the United States Declaration of Independence are typical examples of individual rights.

Individual Rights Definition

Individual rights are those considered so essential that they warrant specific statutory protection from interference. While the U.S. Constitution, for example, divides and restricts the powers of the federal and state governments to check their own and each other’s power, it also expressly ensures and protects certain rights and liberties of individuals from government interference. Most of these rights, such as the First Amendment’s prohibition of government actions that limit the freedom of speech and the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms, are enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Other individual rights, however, are established throughout the Constitution, such as the right to trial by jury in Article III and the Sixth Amendment, and the Due Process of Law Clause found in the post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment

Many individual rights protected by the Constitution deal with criminal justice, such as the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable governmental searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment’s well-known right against self-incrimination. Other individual rights are established by the U.S. Supreme Court in its interpretations of the often vaguely worded rights found in the Constitution.

Individual rights are often considered in contrast to group rights, the rights of groups based on the enduring characteristics of their members. Examples of group rights include the rights of an indigenous people that its culture should be respected and the rights of a religious group that it should be free to engage in collective expressions of its faith and that its sacred sites and symbols should not be desecrated.

More at: https://www.thoughtco.com/individual-rights-definition-and-examples-5115456

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Remove Congress from Washington

Making laws shouldn’t be a full-time job—the idea that we’d treat it as such would have struck the delegates to the first United States Congress as very peculiar

We’ve seen so many photographs of Washington pols flouting their own rules on social distancing and so forth that new stories about this or that congressman caught in flagrante are barely worth reading. We already know the story: People in government live such cosseted, enchanted lives that they seem surprised we even bother to get outraged. Of course they don’t follow the rules they make for us—why should they? 

It’s easy to see why our senators and congressmen get such swelled heads: The salary is $174,000 per year (Nancy Pelosi, as speaker, gets $223,500, which she apparently spends entirely on hair styling). Meanwhile, real median income in the United States was $36,000 per year in 2019. So, to start with, our congressmen believe the work they do is worth five times the work the average American does. 

But salary is the least significant part of the story: U.S. Representatives get an average of $1.4 million per year in office expenses, which includes $945,000 per year for staff. To put this into perspective, the Encyclopedia of the United States Congress reports that, before the Civil War, congressmen had neither staff nor offices and “most members worked at their desks on the floor.” Imagine that. 

Having a huge staff makes the real difference in how our representatives live. They have “administrative assistants” (servants) to take care of all the details that we ordinary people have to tend to ourselves: We have to book our own travel tickets, make our own doctors’ appointments, get our own cars serviced. We have to spend time on hold with the credit card company, the insurance company, the phone company, the internet company. Real life involves being on hold a lot.  

Our representatives don’t do any of this: They have people to be on hold for them. Their insurance is arranged for. They don’t have to call the doctor to reschedule appointments. And you can be damned sure that none of the people who voted for a ban on plastic shopping bags (as exists in New York, Seattle, California, and other leftist utopias) ever have to buy their own groceries. Real life contains a lot of these little nuisances. In fact, these nuisances are precisely what makes life difficult for regular people: Buying our own groceries was already enough of a pain before we had to remember to take reusable bags to the store. But Mayor Bill de Blasio wouldn’t know anything about that. 

More than anything else, personal assistants separate politicians from their worst creation: bureaucracy. Congressmen don’t wait in line at the DMV. They don’t stand in line to mail their own packages. They don’t apply for licenses or permits. They don’t do their own taxes to save a little money. They don’t do paperwork. They don’t fill out forms. They are totally isolated from the red tape which they inflict on the rest of us. No wonder they think government works so well: They never have to experience it. (And neither do their kids, whom they keep well clear of public schools.) 

In a previous piece, I suggested some remedies, such as fixing congressional salaries to the median income and requiring politicians to use the public services they endorse—which should include riding the subway and sending their kids to the worst-performing public school in their constituency. 

But there is a more fundamental remedy available: In 1790, when Congress seated representatives from all 13 states for the first time, there were 65 congressmen representing, as reported by our first census, a population of 3.9 million. Which means each congressman represented about 60,000 constituents. But as the population grew, we realized that of course you can’t fit an arbitrarily large number of people in a single building, so the Apportionment Act of 1911 limited congress to its current 435 seats. Today, congressmen represent an average of three-quarters of a million constituents: It is representation on a totally different scale. 

But if there is one thing that politicians can claim they successfully helped us prove in 2020, it’s that all sorts of businesses can function perfectly well from home.  

Congress could do that. 

Now that we no longer need to be in the same room to discuss the issues (not that real debate has happened on the House floor in recent decades) it’s obvious that congressmen and senators could better represent their constituents if they were closer to them, living in their own states and dealing with local issues. The beltway high life must be pretty distracting, after all. So how about this: Congress can do remote. Congress can Zoom. No more fancy office buildings in D.C.. No taxpayer-funded second homes. No office staff. Representatives can live like the people they represent. 

The Capitol Building could be preserved as a reminder of a simpler, earlier time, when congressmen worked alone all day at their desks and Americans were welcome to walk in whenever they pleased. 

And let’s scrap the Apportionment Act, which is just a regular law, not in the Constitution, and instead have one representative for every 60,000 Americans, just as we had at our founding. Congressional districts would be small enough that constituents could actually get in touch with their congressmen. And congressmen themselves, of whom there would be about 5500, would be relatively unimportant, just as our founders intended. 

Making laws shouldn’t be a full-time job—the idea that we’d treat it as such would have struck the delegates to the first United States Congress as very peculiar. Texas, whose legislature meets every other year, has the right idea: Our representatives should be gainfully employed doing regular-people things most of the time. Above all, they should be required to live life on the same terms as “we the people.” That means booking your own appointments, waiting on hold, and standing in line. I can’t afford a personal assistant. And, when you’re spending my tax dollars, neither can you.

More at:

https://amgreatness.com/2021/10/19/remove-congress-from-washington/

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What if It’s Proven that Joe Biden and the Democrats Didn’t Win the 2020 Election But They Refuse to Give Up Power?

By Richard SellinAugust 20, 2021

What if, or when, it is unequivocally proven that Joe Biden and other Democrats did not legitimately win the 2020 election, but they refuse to give up power?

What then?

I think it is a scenario for which we should be prepared because elections without meaning leave us with a stark choice between submission to a one-party totalitarian state or rebellion.

It has been evident for a long time that, although we have had elections, we have not had a representative government.

The United States now has a bona fide ruling class that both controls and transcends government, which sees itself as distinct from the rest of society and as the only element that may act on its behalf. The ruling class considers those who resist it as having no moral, intellectual or even any civil right to do so.

Republican leaders neither contest that view nor vilify their Democrat counterparts because they do not want to challenge the ruling class, they want to be part of it.

The GOP leadership has gradually solidified its choice to no longer represent what had been its constituency, but to adopt the identity of junior partners in the ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the views of Republican voters, the leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans.

Most Americans believe that we are no longer citizens of a constitutional republic, but subjects of an administrative aristocracy composed of a self-absorbed permanent political class, which serves the interests of international financiers at the expense of U.S. citizens.

They maintain their authority by an ever-expanding and increasingly intrusive federal government and use compliant media to manipulate public perception and opinion in order to maintain the illusion of democracy.

From the perspective of the ruling elites, elections have become little more than occasions to redistribute power among themselves.

For the international financiers, it does not matter who wins as long as they can continue to influence policy through their lobbies and political donations.

The 2020 election results appear to have been intentionally manipulated by those elites to permanently consolidate their power and rule by fiat, spelling the end of the American constitutional republic.

We are faced with a situation where all the traditional means for the American people to seek the redress of grievances have been blocked.

That is, the federal government has seceded from the American people.

The present political environment, that is, the separation between the rulers and the ruled, bears comparison to the events leading up to the American Revolution.

In contrast to what Thomas Paine wrote in the “Rights of Man” (1791), the current ruling elites in Washington D.C. see individual rights as privileges, not endowed by God, but granted via political charter, and, thereby, legally revocable to ensure the “good order” of society.

It is a collectivist philosophy that directly conflicts with the principles outlined in the Constitution, where government is a construct of and accountable to its citizens, as Paine noted:

“The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.”

In other words, whenever the interests of government officials divert from or are in conflict with those of the people, tyranny ensues.

Today the federal government has become an entity unto itself operating outside of Constitutional constraints and unaccountable to the American people.

It is, therefore, not just a right, but an obligation of the American people to take correctional measures when such deviations from liberty arise, as Founding Father John Adams noted:

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”

The present conflict of interests between the rulers and the ruled represented by the corrupt political status quo is unsustainable.

Now that it is clear that the blatant and outrageous lies emanating from the ruling elites are no longer sufficient to soothe the citizenry into complacency, they must curtail liberty and oppress the people in order to remain in power.

Ordinary Americans must band together and take a stand to restore the Constitution and the rule of law, to establish political and fiscal sanity and to return the government to the people.

In a speech to the Illinois Republican State Convention on June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln had this to say about the issue of slavery:

“In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed – A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

The United States is at a similar inflection point in history. We will be all one thing or the other, a constitutional republic or, if the present situation continues, a one-party, totalitarian state.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is retired from an international career in business and medical research with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of “Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution.” His email address is lawrence.sellin@gmail.com.

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