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The Impending Death of the First and Second Amendments (Usurpation Number 1)

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Restore Liberty is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization committed to educating and advocating for the re-adoption of the principles found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, specifically the natural and inalienable freedom of mankind and the proper role of the central government. In order to unite the organizations and individuals of the United States under those principles, the founders of Restore Liberty wrote the “Declaration of Constitutional Consent.” In that declaration, they outline the original intent of the founders, call to light the strictly limited authority of the federal government, and enumerate many of the abundant violations of the compact between the people of the states and the central government. The first of the 17 listed violations (or “usurpations”) is the topic of this article.

The fundamental safeguards to a free people enumerated in the first and second Amendments to the Constitution have been continuously and systematically infringed upon. Those in power now have denied the inherency of those rights, indicating an intention to destroy them.

The first and second amendments to the Constitution of the United States, like much of the rest of the Bill of Rights, were not written and ratified to endow novel rights to a people previously living without those freedoms. They were written to keep the ever-present danger of a central government from eroding the natural rights of mankind. After successfully fighting what was at the time the most powerful government on the earth, the founding generation knew the danger of an unconstrained authoritarian government intimately. They were sensibly distrustful of government, calling it “a necessary evil.” Even the new government they just created was to be viewed with continual distrust. The new union’s founders knew that governments were made of individuals, and individuals were not to be entrusted with the power to endanger liberty.

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” – John Adams

Debates on whether the Constitution had the ability to prevent a reoccurrence of tyranny and despotism were the principal concentration of the public as the ratification conventions neared.

The right to think, speak, write, and worship as one’s conscience deems necessary is inherent to every free person. The right to protect oneself from all dangers is innate. These are principles derived from the central philosophies that were eloquently stated by John Locke and William Blackstone in their writings. They were embraced by the founders and used to establish a new nation. When forming a union from the independent states, there was legitimate concern that this novel central government would ignore the strict limits of their jurisdiction and assail the very liberty Americans had spent years fighting and dying for. The only way the new Constitution of the United States would be ratified was the guarantee of a Bill of Rights. Within two years of the ratification of the Constitution, the promised Bill of Rights reaffirmed that the central government had no authority to infringe upon the most precious of freedoms.

A little over 230 years later, though, the central government has been eroding these rights. Authoritarianism has been so successful that it is now not even an entirely shocking affront for the “limited” government to advocate for lockdowns and lockouts of church gatherings, assume under their jurisdiction the right to restrict the ownership of certain pieces of plastic or metal because they could potentially become part of a gun, or brag about coordinating with today’s primary platform for public speech, social media, to eliminate any opinions that they do not condone.

One does not need to search hard for evidence to verify that the current administration intends to destroy the safeguards found in the first and second amendments. President Biden himself has publicly said on at least three occasions that “no amendment is absolute,” while demanding Americans accede to his new exceptions to our guaranteed freedoms.

When White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the president’s administration was concerned about the first amendment when pressuring the social media giants to censor dissent, she doubled down, saying, “The president’s view is that key platforms have a responsibility, related to the health and safety of all Americans, to stop the reinforcement of unreliable content, disinformation, and misinformation, especially related to COVID-19, vaccinations, and elections.” On the same topic, White House spokesman Mike Gwinn told the New York Times, “We’ve engaged with Facebook since the transition on this issue, and we’ve made clear to them when they haven’t lived up to our, or their own, standards and have actively elevated content on their platforms that misleads the American people.”

It is standard legal doctrine that to use a nongovernmental party to do something on behalf of the government, the civilian party becomes a de facto agent of the government. The central government’s coercion and demand that private social media companies censor speech is a clear violation of the first amendment.

The first and second amendments to the Constitution have been eroded and diluted to a point of longer being guarantees of the limits of government. The examples of their dissolution extend for centuries and are more numerous than can be written in any number of short articles. The first step to restoring those freedoms, as well as all others, is to know the history and the principles that established them in this nation.