FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Moral Imperative

 

“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

Governments do not confer legitimacy on themselves. Their legitimacy is dependent on the will of the people, elections being the accepted means for establishing the popular mandate.

And, there are basic criteria for establishing whether or not an acting government is in compliance with the minimal standards of democracy. This means that the broader values of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” must be preserved and protected by those serving in high office. This is the highest obligation of public servants.

Never the less, we should recognize that the most troublesome, yet, perhaps, the most admired notion in the Declaration is its “moral imperative”; the call to “alter or abolish” that government that is destructive to the “unalienable” rights of man.

Are we there, yet?

America is not traditionally thought of as a country that robs its citizens of their due process rights and dumps them in prison for more than two years without representation.

America is not typically condemned for human rights violations and alleged torture of prisoners.

America is not usually mentioned in the same breath with targeted assassinations, endless detentions, forced occupation and prison camps.

This is Bush’s America…it’s not our America anymore.

Those who believe in democracy and the founding principles of this nation must ask themselves how far the country can tilt rightward before it invites the full measure of its revolutionary message.

Ultimately, that could be the moral question of our era.

The Bush Administration’s lock on power is dependent on deception. The deception is spontaneous and, oftentimes, with cause.

Normally, we can determine the truth of a particular issue by assuming the inverse of whatever the administration says.

But, this merely affects the administration’s credibility, not their legitimacy.

Legitimacy is the root of governance, without it the existing government must be removed.

The Bush Administration has made great strides in grinding down the fundamental principles underlying American life. They have successfully eviscerated the right to privacy (Patriot Act, FICA courts; 4th amendment) and established the necessary precedents for overturning all Due Process rights (Rights to see an attorney, rights to a speedy trial, rights to be charged with a crime, rights to face your accusers; 5th and 6th Amendments) These are the heart and soul of the Constitution as they protect the citizen from the vagaries of government abuse.

Particularly troubling, is the case of “alleged” dirty bomber, Jose Padilla; by all counts, a test case to see if the President can effectively repeal the Constitution. It’s quite clear that this struggle to dispatch American citizens as “enemy combatants” is an attempt to assert the absolute power of the executive and put the President above the law.

The disposition of this case will tell us a great deal about the future of democracy in America.

The administration’s approach to civil liberties has not been haphazard in the least, but, rather, a full scale assault on those legal barriers that are the cornerstone of our system.

This is the crisis of legitimacy; a government that is bent on devouring democracy itself.

Governments do not create freedom, at best, they can only safeguard and respect it.

Man is intrinsically free, which is to say, that man and freedom are identical. “Unalienable.”

This is the central point of our Constitution; the bedrock principle of our ethos.

The Bush Administration has put itself in direct conflict with these basic tenets. Its actions have made it the adversary of democratic values (“destructive of these ends”) and, therefore, the enemy of the American people.

The administration no longer bares the mantle of legitimacy.

It is a threat to both itself and those it is supposed to serve.

It must be removed.

The founders of this country anticipated a time when liberty would be in jeopardy. They provided us with their tacit endorsement of further action.

The “alter or abolish” clause in the Constitution is their summons to revolution. Their spirit pervades the grass roots movements that, even now, are fomenting a growing rage against the leadership in Washington.

Liberty is no longer our birthright, but part of a greater struggle.

In this context, resistance is the primary responsibility of the citizen and the highest form of patriotism.

Resistance is the order of the day, and the moral imperative of a generation.

MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

More articles by:

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ahmet Altan’s “I Will Never See the World Again”
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail