As published in the Benewah republican Newspaper
Let us honor General George Washington – one of the greatest founders of the United States of America, the first president, and a signer of the U.S. Constitution. In Washington’s own words, he defined government in saying, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
When tending to a fire, the most irresponsible thing one can do is to leave the fire to tend itself. Using our first president’s analogy, the worst thing a people can do is to allow government agents to tend themselves. Which, by the way, is exactly what we have done for the past century! I know you might be saying to yourself, “I vote every year and so I’m doing my part to tend government.” Well, I’m sorry, but if you think voting is all that is required to tend the flames of government, then you are sorely mistaken. You see, as the father of our country described, “government is force.” Therefore, it is the force of government that we must focus on most. Voting, without further tending, is simply not enough.
So, in this spirit of trying to extinguish the wildfires of government force, let’s talk about how government force upon a person was designed to be controlled. However, before we get too far, I should mention the obvious: once a fire gets out of control the damage is usually very significant and it takes tremendous sacrifice and energy to get it back under control.
The truth is, authorized government force upon a person or people was designed to be very limited. It was only to be used for a specific reason and only when the people authorized it. I believe the Declaration of Independence best outlines the specific purpose for the use of the force of government, “…to secure these rights [the rights of a person] Governments are instituted among men.” In other words, the only rightful use of government force is to secure the rights of a person.
Now, hold on for just a minute! Does this mean government agents can use any force they wish upon someone as long as it is to “protect a person’s rights”? I don’t believe so. Just because someone is trying to help protect someone else, does not necessarily make it right. What if my neighbor thought a tree on my property was going to damage my house, so he came onto my property and cut down the tree? His intentions may have been good, but he had no right or authority to cut down the tree in the first place. In fact, if justice was to be administered properly, he would be required to replace the tree and restore the damages. My neighbor may cry and pout about how ungrateful I was and how he was just trying to protect me. But in the end, he would be wrong; he did not have authority to fire up his chain saw and use it on my tree. So it is with government agents when they use force in defense without authorization from the people.
Permission from the people, authorizing government force upon a person, is very well documented but not well followed by government agents today. So, let’s identify who has been given permission by the people to use government force and when are agents authorized to use it. Stick with me, this is the important part.
(1) A person’s right must be threatened or violated by another person before any government agent can use force to secure that right.
(2) The person using government force to secure a right must have direct authority granted to them by the people.
Inside each individual State, the only agents that have been given power by the people to use force is the County Sheriff. A Sheriff can deputize other people to help him/her exercise this power, but the Sheriffs are the only people in the State that hold the power to use government force upon a person. Yes, accountability is the reason. Through an election, the people delegate the use of force to the Sheriff. If he or she abuses that force, the people can and should take that authority away. The people can take this power away peacefully by not re-electing the Sheriff or by recalling him. With the Sheriff knowing he is accountable to the people, he will in return be more likely to hold his deputies accountable to him.
This process of delegating the force of the people to the Sheriff through an election is what helps keep the people safe from government agents using government force incorrectly.
(3) When a person is accused of something, government agents must get permission from the people to criminally prosecute. This permission comes from a Grand Jury made up of the people. If the Grand Jury does not indict, then government prosecutors have no authority to prosecute.
(4) If the Grand Jury does indict, then the person being accused may be forced to be present at a trial. But again, government agents do not have the authority to punish a person or convict them of a crime. Punishment and conviction are determined by people, in a jury, at the end of a fair and public trial. If government agents punish a person before the people have determined that person is guilty, then those agents are acting outside the authority the people have given them.
Does the statement, “A government of the people, by the people, for the people” sound familiar? It should. Our government process was designed to be “of the people” meaning it is made up of the people, “by the people” meaning everything that government agents do must be approved by the people, and “for the people.” This is obvious. Yes, all government action should be for the people, not for government agents, and not for something else.
Now, I could go on at great length explaining how city and state and federal police are unconstitutional because the people have never given them authorization to use government force. We could discuss how prosecutors have nearly eliminated the Grand Jury so they can be the ones to determine persecution upon a person. We could also go into detail about how judges are controlling the trial jury, rather than the jury (the people) controlling the judges. Most importantly, I could go into detail about how the Sheriffs are the most powerful people in the entire country. Most Sheriffs do not know or understand the power they hold.
So, all in all, when you are electing a County Sheriff, remember you are authorizing that individual to use government force upon a person. That is a very delicate power and one that must be attended to with even greater care than an open fire.