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In Pursuit of True Liberty
In Pursuit of True Liberty

By: Bob Phipps
September 11, 1999

I was involved in an Internet discussion some time back when another participant severely criticized me for referring to the U.S. Constitution as a "failed experiment". I responded by pointing out the Asset Forfeiture Laws, the 20,000 plus federal restrictions on the Right to Bear Arms, the egregious property rights violations occurring under a host of laws dealing with water and air, industrial activity, foreign treaties and such.

I mentioned the 5,000 property seizures and home invasions at the hands of government, many of which are the kick in the door and kill the pets kind, that occur in America each week now, the complete lack of habeas corpus protection, the National ID law, the socialization of our medical and educational systems and dozens of other examples of the Police State that America is becoming.

Isn't this a failure of a constitution that established a republic based on the ideals of such notable freedom fighters as Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and Patrick Henry?

The U.S. Constitution, once considered to be a beacon of freedom in the world, has truly become the most subverted document in history. The protection of God given rights, particularly those as stated by the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th amendments, have been so adulterated by unconstitutional laws and bureaucracies as to be rendered useless.

Property is now routinely seized without due process, forcing citizens to prove innocence in a system that considers them guilty per se. Private homes are routinely invaded, families are terrorized and citizens are now afraid of their government, even though they are guilty of no wrongful act.

Isn't this failure of a constitution in a nation described as "the land of the free and the home of the brave"?

Clearly, the United States has abandoned those principles so brilliantly expressed in the American Declaration of Independence. So how shall we go about reclaiming our rights?

We could follow the lead set by those few Texans who have devoted almost two years of their lives in the construction of a constitution that is totally dedicated to the concepts of individual freedom and liberty. Delegates to the Texas Constitutional Convention can be proud of their work, the Texas Constitution 2000 is, in my opinion, the finest document of its kind ever written.

This new Texas constitution can withstand the test of time, and the nation it establishes will set the new standard for personal freedom and liberty for generations to come. I was asked to write on what I like about this constitution, it would have been easier to write on what I don't like. The only thing I don't like is that it hasn't been ratified yet.

Texas Constitution 2000 makes a strong and immediate impact with a Declaration of Intent, proclaiming personal freedom and property rights that cannot be infringed by government.

The theme of irrevocable and God given rights continues with Article 1, the "Declaration of Rights". Note the use of the word "Declaration", not "Bill". The rights that are guaranteed by this document cannot be revoked, rescinded, removed or limited by government; they belong to all people for all time.

Article 1 is the most powerful guarantee of individual rights, freedom and self-determination ever made in such a document. With an immediate statement of inherent and God-given rights common to all individuals, the rights to life, liberty, property and free will, this constitution quickly sets its theme, that individual freedom is guaranteed forever and that government power is permanently impaired.

Not a "Bill" - A Declaration of Rights

Unlike the Bill of Rights found in the U.S. Constitution, a list of rights added as an afterthought and ending with a guarantee of power to another government, the state, this Declaration of Rights of individuals is the heart and soul of this new constitution. It ends with section 7, a resounding affirmation that these rights belong to all individuals and cannot be infringed by government. I have read and reread this section dozens of times and I am always awed by the powerful protection this article affords all people, not just Texas citizens, but all individuals.

Try and imagine a government with no rights or powers! A government that can never infringe on the rights of peaceful, law abiding citizens, a government that can't muck up the natural flow of commerce vital to a strong economy, a government unable to control and destroy its citizens by issuing right to work permits sometimes known as "licenses." Don't stop here; you are just beginning.

No Counterfeit Money

Think of a government that can't issue counterfeit money that destroys the value of currency, one that can't destroy the lives of generations of its citizens by taxing and borrowing. Keep going. Imagine a government that cannot control the minds and thoughts of its citizens through government run schools, hospitals, permanent bureaucracies and career politicians. Sounds like heaven compared to the out-of-control monster the U.S. Federal Government has become.

Government has no rights

Article 2 of Constitution 2000 sets austere limitations on the functions of government. Note the word "function" as opposed to "right," government has no rights under this constitution.

Government can't control private property, minerals, water or right of ways and the free movement of law-abiding individuals. It cannot tax and spend, nor can government destroy the value of currency. These and other powers are forever forbidden to government by this constitution.

As with Article 1, Article 2 ends with a powerful statement that government can never suspend or subvert the rights of its citizens. I cannot conceive how anyone, given the example we now have of government running amuck, could not love the first two articles of Constitution 2000.

And it gets better.

In a simple, well-written and well-defined five sections, Article 3 specifies crime and tort. There is no cumbersome and confusing laundry list of criminal acts so complicated that no one can understand and everyone is sure to violate. There are no bewildering descriptions of crimes so numerous that the only purpose is to ensure that government can charge individuals with violations at will, thus establishing automatic control over people who have committed no wrong, but have been legislated into criminals.

Article 3 defines crime and tort and eliminates government prosecution of those accused of crime. Individuals are responsible, not government, for filing charges of wrongdoing. There are no "crimes against the state."

This new constitution also establishes a firm right of Habeas Corpus, and sets up accountability for those who ignore or violate habeas corpus. There is but one law, and that is quite simple... don't violate the rights of any other." It's as close to the original intent of self-government that I've ever seen.

Rest of constitution supports Article 1-3

Articles 4 and 5 deal with the definition and structure of government, are the longest of the Articles, the only ones divided into multiple parts. Both these Articles are notable for continuing the precise limitation of government, forbidden to terrorize its citizens. All prosecution of private citizens occurs in county courts, all are presumed innocent, all have the right to face their accusers, all have the right to see the evidence against them and all have access to appeal of convictions to adjacent county courts. Juries have full power in the courtroom.

Our Fully Informed Jury (FIJA) friends will love the jury system... all juries are chosen at random by lottery. No more jury tampering by lawyers and judges. There will be no prosecution of private individuals in the national courts!

The only individuals prosecuted in national courts will be government officials! Imagine a country that holds government officials accountable for their actions, where citizens mistreated by government can actually seek and receive redress for damage done to them by agents of the government, where citizens can actually sleep peacefully in their homes without fear that their doors will be kicked in at 2 a.m., their children abused and terrorized and their pets and property destroyed! With ratification of Constitution 2000, you will not have to imagine this freedom from government brutality; you can live it.

Government securing individual rights

I won't go into the precise structure of government or the transition plan set out in Constitution 2000. Both show considerable thought, time and consideration on the part of the delegates to the Texas Constitutional Convention. They continue and reinforce the theme of limited government and guarantees of personal freedom and liberty.

Under this constitution, no one will be forced to be a citizen. Citizenship is voluntary, and this constitution enforces the Jeffersonian principle of the "natural right of expatriation." Those who wish to remain citizens of another country and reject this constitution will find that the articles that set the structure and transition of government protect them and their freedom and rights just as they do for Texas citizens. This security is much better than they now have under the U.S. Constitution.

No Taxation

Those who seek economic opportunity will find much to be excited about in the articles that deal with government funding and the private ownership of property. Our New Constitution stands for absolutely no taxation of any kind.

What do I like about it?

What do I like about this Constitution? Everything. Constitution 2000 assures that all future generations of Texans, our children and grandchildren, will be free. Unlike the U.S. Constitution that has allowed unrestricted growth in the power and scope of government to the detriment of freedom and liberty, this new Texas constitution recognizes the inherent right of individuals to be free and the absolute necessity to restrict government to an administrative rather than an authoritative body.

Everyone who knows me is aware of my love for the philosophy and wisdom of Thomas Jefferson. I won't disappoint them here, Jefferson said:

"Let us defend the idea that government should be the servant and not the master of the people; that the only true purpose of government is to protect the freedom of its citizens".

The theme throughout Constitution 2000 is severe limitation on government and the protection of the rights, freedom and liberty of individuals. Much thought went into the wording of this constitution. Much was learned by the failure of the constitution of our friends, neighbors and family to the north.

Absolute Right to Keep And Bear Arms

Jefferson also said:

"When citizens fear their government, you have tyranny; when the government fears its citizens, you have freedom", and

"No free man must ever be denied the use of arms".

No government that respects the God given rights, freedom and liberty of its citizens need ever fear an armed society. Nowhere is the freedom and liberty of individuals inherent in this constitution more evident than in its approach to the Right to Bear Arms.

Article 1, Section 6:
"Every individual has the inherent right of owning, using, and carrying arms of any description."

Article 2, Section 5:
"Government shall never restrict individuals from assembling to train with arms for the individual or collective defense of life, liberty, or property."

Article 2, Section 6:
"Government shall never restrict nor control the manufacture, sale, purchase, ownership, use, storage, transportation, or carrying of any arms, parts, accessories, or ammunition."

Texas Constitution 2000 has made a powerful statement that it will respect rather than fear its citizens. The nation it establishes is one that freedom-loving people need not fear. That's what I like best about this constitution.

Bob Phipps is a member of the Executive Committee, Libertarian Party of Texas and served as its Vice Chair from June 1994 to June 1998. He has been a Second Amendment activist for more than thirty years. Bob holds degrees in Government, Economics, History and Sociology with under and post-graduate studies at Southwest Texas State University, University of Houston, Insurance Institute of America and Lamar University. He now serves as Vice-Chair of the Texas Constitutional Ratification Committee, the committee charged with overseeing the ratification of Constitution 2000 and creating a free and independent Texas.

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A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. George Washington

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