EDITORIAL: We Hold These Truths... 

EDITORIAL: We Hold These Truths... 
Posted by FoM on July 02, 1999 at 09:25:55 PT
Adam J. Smith, Associate Director, ajsmith drcnet.
Source: DRC Net
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." -- Declaration of Independence, 1776 This weekend, people across the United States celebrate Independence Day. The day marks the courage and achievement of a group of people who felt the lash of tyranny and cried "no more!" It is an appropriate time, then, to look around at the state of freedom in the land of the free. The United States is currently the world's leader in per capita incarceration. By the end of 1999, more than one million non-violent Americans will reside behind bars. At the close of the twentieth century, the United States Government seizes billions of dollars per year worth of personal property. 85% of those whose property is seized by the government are never charged with a crime. Property that is seized under the civil asset forfeiture laws is presumed "guilty," its owner left with the unenviable task of proving that it is more likely than not that the property is "innocent." Voters in Washington, DC, the nation's capitol, have been barred from learning the results of a scheduled election last November in which, according to exit polls, nearly 70% voted to allow for the palliative use of marijuana by severely and terminally ill citizens. It is common in late twentieth-century America for the government to gain criminal convictions by offering money, leniency or freedom to one citizen in return for incriminating testimony against another citizen. The government is currently subsidizing a program to make it affordable for small companies to test the chemical composition of their employees' urine as a condition of employment. More than 11,000 U.S. children are currently incarcerated with adults. U.S. citizens who suffer from severe, chronic pain are often unable to get sufficient medication. Doctors across the nation are unwilling to prescribe pain medication in adequate dosages for fear that their government will preempt their livelihood or imprison them. This despite repeated calls from chronic pain experts and the medical establishment for an end to such abusive regulation and enforcement. More than one out of every four African American males born today will spend part of his lifetime in an American prison. U.S. armed forces are now deployed domestically, patrolling our borders and working hand in hand with domestic law enforcement agencies. All of these are the result, in whole or in part, of a single, liberty-stealing policy of the United States government: Prohibition. At its core, Prohibition is an attempt by the government, in the face of all evidence, to suppress the basic laws of supply and demand through criminal enforcement. It means that Americans are forbidden to grow and to use certain varieties of plants and certain chemical combinations, even in the privacy of their own homes, and whether or not that use harms anyone other than the user, or even the user himself. Today, 223 years after a very brave and very principled group of men set their names to that radical document, the Declaration of Independence, it seems that the government that they would establish has lost sight of the very principles of its foundation. Governments are instituted to secure life, liberty and the right to pursue happiness for they who have given that government legitimacy by their consent. Nowhere did the founders express the idea that government ought to decide what kind of life, how much liberty, or by what means the governed should be allowed to pursue that happiness. To the extent that the United States government has overstepped its legitimate authority, it is our responsibility, as citizens of the nation whose birth we are now celebrating, to reign it in. From all of us here at DRCNet, have a safe and happy Fourth! Click the link to read all of DRC Net's Weekly Update News for July 1st, 1999!
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