To rule or be ruled appeals to the human’s innate, albeit feral, instinct. “If I don’t rule over you, you will rule over me. I must, therefore, try to dominate you for fear that you will dominate me. If you win, I lose; in order for me to win, you must lose.”

Nature teaches we can either be slaves or masters.

As Athenian remarked to the Melians “Those who can do what they will and those who can’t suffer what they must.”

There is a story of a peasant who finds a magic lamp, he rubs the lamp and a genie appears and offers the man one wish, but the condition of the wish is that whatever the peasant wishes for his neighbors will receive double. The peasant thinks for a moment and says, “I wish to have one of my eyes put out.” This begs the notion that in a land of the blind a one-eyed man is king.

We see in nature the rule of dominance; this is why people have over the years devised a system known as the social contract.

The idea of the social contract implies that the people give up some rights to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order.

That legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed.

The United States Constitution bases these on natural rights, also known as moral rights or inalienable rights. These are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society, but are an endowment that is not subject to, nor can be amended by men.

But like John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government 1689, we should recognize that even with a social contract people will still live in fear of one another.

This is why such articles as the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution exist.

It is also why a just rule of law is paramount in a free society. Therefore, a strict adherence to the U. S. Constitution is the only way that a guaranty of rights can be trusted. Individuals must believe that a fair system of justice exists to protect them and what is theirs.

Consequently, the laws or rules of the contract must be consistent with neutral judges whom neither adds to, takes away from nor changes the rules based on shifting social mores or political pressure.

This brings us to the Tenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution and its meaning. Amendment X: “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.”

This on its face would seem rather clear however this amendment has been tested by law and tried in blood and still the matter is not settled altogether.

In theory, the constitution prescribes a government that is as close to the people as possible.

This was understood as a small federal government, with strong local and state governments. Thomas Jefferson said, “When all government shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will… become as oppressive as the government from which we separated [the government of England].”

As the new president and congress press an ever-growing federal agenda many states are pursuing legislative action to assert their sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment.

Several states are trying to ward off demands from Washington on how to spend money or enact policy locally. The most comprehensive resolution may be found in the state of New Hampshire’s House Concurrent Resolution 6.

It reads as follows, “any Act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States of America or Judicial Order by the Judicatories of the United States of America which assumes a power not delegated to the government of United States of America by the Constitution for the United States of America and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the government of the United States of America.”

Acts that would cause the state to invoke this extreme measure include:

“I. Establishing martial law in a state of emergency within one of the States comprising the United States of America without the consent of the legislature of that State.

II. Requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a draft during a declared war, or pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

III. Requiring involuntary servitude or governmental service of persons under the age of 18 other than pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

IV. Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government.

V. Any act regarding religion; further limitations on freedom of political speech; or further limitations on freedom of the press.

VI. Further infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of type or quantity of arms or ammunition.

“That should any such act of Congress become law or Executive Order or Judicial Order be put into force, all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the several States individually. Any future government of the United States of America shall require ratification of three quarters of the States seeking to form a government of the United States of America and shall not be binding upon any State not seeking to form such a government....”

While this is a laudable stand, it begs the question of, “Too little, too late?”

Is there away back to Jeffersonian principles or are we to be ruled by a one-eyed oligarch of Washington?

Only a steadfast resistance by principled leaders, a vigilant and active citizenry and a faith in Him that has bestowed us with inalienable rights will stand in the face of this libido dominandi.

This lust to rule is at the heart of our current strife and must be confronted with courage, wisdom and faith.

As it was once born in blood, let it now be adjudicated in justice.

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