So, I attended a rally today. . . and it was pretty wonderful. I’ve been reluctant to go….to step back into “activism” after my old Common Core fighting days, but it’s time….time to take every opportunity to make those “silent majority” voices heard. So I went out of “duty” but I left SO encouraged – dare I say inspired : )
To my very pleasant surprise, the organizers were three adorable mamas who are just fed up…who want to raise their kids in freedom, to pass on the heritage of liberty that they grew up with. The attendees: some politically active who seemed right at home, but many who I visited with didn’t know a soul and had never been to something like this before. What a great sign!
The purpose: to announce a lawsuit against the City of Jacksonville opposing the mayor’s “proclamation” regarding mandatory universal masking. Now, before you tune me out – no matter where you stand on this particular issue….please hear me out. You see, we’re facing a threat much scarier than COVID-19 . . . and that’s a runaway civil government operating FAR outside the boundaries of the US and Florida Constitutions. If we don’t put a stop to it now, we’ll face much greater infringements than universal masking in the future.
It’s time to remind ourselves - or learn ….what is the role of civil government?
America was founded on the idea of individual liberty and SELF-government. That means personal responsibility, but to be RESPONSIBLE for anything you also have to have AUTHORITY over it. So, if SELF-government is the goal…the only way that works is if you limit the powers of the CIVIL government. And that’s exactly what our founders did.
This is why….when you look at both the federal Constitution and our Florida constititution (and you should- see links in comments), you’ll find that they are LIMITING documents. The people of the newly formed thirteen states well-remembered the recent infringements of the king and Parliament and the bloodshed and destruction that ensued when the means of petitioning prescribed in English law failed to bring the king back “under the law.”
These new Americans very purposefully designed a governing document based on what’s called negative law. I know that’s not a term we’ve been taught and it sounds like a bad thing, but it’s actually the best possible kind! Simply put, negative law means that ALL liberties are retained by you unless the law specifically says “NO.” One place where we see this articulated is in the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, part of what we call the "Bill of Rights." It says: “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” Basically, they’re saying: “We’ve listed a few things in this document as powers belonging to the federal government and we’ve forbidden the States from doing a couple of things to avoid confusion (those are the “negatives” or the “NOs”) . . .but OTHER THAN THOSE THINGS – the world is your oyster!”
So again “negative law” was what was applied to “we the people” – we get ALL rights unless the Constitution or local law says “NO.” The presumption of rights in our constitutional republic is always on the side of the people. (By the way, this was exactly the system God set up in the Garden of Eden: “You may eat from every tree EXCEPT. . .”)
At the same time, what was laid out in the Constitution was “positive law” applied to the civil government. Basically, they CAN’T do anything unless it says “YES” in the document and then ONLY those things. They are a LIMITED civil government. As my students have heard many times in reference to the congressional powers spelled out in Article 1, Section 8: “If it ain’t on the list, they ain’t got the power!”
It’s a brilliant system – carefully designed for a self-governed people to maintain their liberties and keep their civil government in check! But we have not been vigilant. Instead, we were brought up thinking that if we just voted for the “right” people, they’d do their jobs and protect us. Sadly, that is just not so. Jefferson told us that “history proves that the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” And it has – big time.
So here we are and today’s issue is universal masking of healthy people. Folks, this is not about masks. It’s not about whether they work. It’s about individual rights, an exponential escalation of runaway government, and the Florida and United States' Constitutions. Those, by the way, are what all of your mayors, council members and the governor specifically name and take an oath to protect, defend and uphold.
Forced universal masking of the healthy in response to a virus that is in many ways comparable to the flu and is estimated by CDC to have a 99.8% survival rate (with therapeutic drugs now being confirmed to further reduce the death rate) is far outside constitutional bounds & must be vigorously challenged immediately. Remember, the presumption of right should always be with the people and their right of self-government...unless explicit power is granted to civil government for this purpose and under these circumstances. And just for the record, “safer at home” orders and the arbitrary choosing of “essential” and “non-essential” businesses are perhaps even more repugnant to both constitutions than forced masking. So this moment…..this issue…. is about setting precedent. It just so happens that “universal mandatory masking” has become the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Civil government officials have taken the opportunity of these unusual days to act like emperors, issuing dictates, mandates and proclamations with no regard for upholding their oath to protect your individual rights and to limit themselves! Don’t blame them. They’ve gotten used to it. We’ve let them get away with actions like this for years but, Florida, we’re facing something MUCH scarier than a virus with a 99.8% recovery rate if. . .
without truly settled science and a chance for both sides to provide testimony
without full-throated debate from YOUR elected representatives
without establishing any kind of objective “threat threshold“ (2% Infection Fatality Rate or the like) that must be met before mandating extreme and unprecedented measures
without setting any expiration date to the extreme measure
. . .your mayor, your state governor or your city council can literally force every healthy resident to wear a “medical device."
What’s the next thing they’re going to force you to do? Remember…this isn’t about liking or believing in masks. It’s about reining in civil government so that individuals can govern themselves. It’s about the fact that down the road, the mayor or city council will undoubtedly use this accepted broad power (established by precedent) to force those that want masks mandated to do something that they now find invasive, unwise or damaging. This is the danger of encouraging civil government to use its “power of force” to accomplish what seems good in the moment. They don’t relinquish that new-found power and it’s always turned against you.
Now is the time, not to blame civil government, but to hold them accountable and to remind them – loudly and clearly- of their real job: carefully guarding individual rights in the midst of a challenging time.
So, show up to rallies resisting lockdowns and mandates and be another body showing support for the lawsuits currently being filed in various counties and cities. Even if you live in the next county, consider a “field trip” to help your fellow Floridians make a statement. I’m betting you’ll leave feeling really blessed! There’s one tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 7th) in Seminole County (6 pm at Marktplace @ Altamonte).
Show up to your city council meetings if they start talking about mandates. Bring a short written statement and be willing to give public comment….even if you’re nervous. It matters.
Learn about the principles contained in the Declaration and Constitution. You’ll start to see civil government in a whole new light.
Give to the groups filing lawsuits against counties and cities to help cover filing costs. Join the “ReopenFL” facebook group to stay abreast of those efforts. Keep emailing and writing your elected officials.
We’ve been watching with horror as events unfold that we never thought possible in America. Our liberties are under siege in unprecedented ways and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, wondering how it’s possible that our elected officials get away with such draconian, unprecedented, Twilight Zone measures. The answer: because we let them. Both Jefferson and Jackson wrote that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” and Franklin said that the Constitutional Convention delegates had given the people “a republic, if you can keep it!” For the sake of our posterity and out of gratefulness to God for the gift of liberty, let’s do just that.