Another Reason to Privatize

Private companies have rights; government does not.

We've often explained why private industry should provide as many services as possible, even those for which there is a legitimate argument for government funding.  Police and soldiers are government employees, but their guns and vehicles are bought from private firms which make them.  It's a good idea for all children to receive an education, but the government public-school monopoly has amply demonstrated why it's a bad idea for government to try to provide that education through its own employees.

From the postal service to the Congressional cafeteria, forests have been felled detailing the inefficiency, general incompetence, and egregious expense incurred when government tries to do something private enterprise can do perfectly well.

Saving money, however, is not the only reason why privatization is a good thing, as the most liberal place in America learned last week:

Can you hear me now?

Transit officials blocked cellphone reception in San Francisco train stations for three hours to disrupt planned demonstrations over a police shooting.

Officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system said Friday that they turned off electricity to cellular towers in four stations from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The move was made after BART learned that protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate a demonstration on train platforms.

The tactic drew comparisons to those used by the former president of Egypt to squelch protests demanding an end to his authoritarian rule. Authorities there cut Internet and cellphone services in the country for days earlier this year.

Here's What Happened

There has been confusion about exactly what happened, so let's clarify the record.

In the United States, any sort of cellphone-jamming device is strictly illegal, even to keep convicts from using cell phones which were smuggled into the prison.  Some early reports said that the San Francisco subway system, called BART, jammed cellphone use in their stations to disrupt a planned protest against the government.  This would have been a criminal act, but it's not what they did.

As most people know, signals from your cellphone to a local tower can't go through the earth.  If you're underground in a subway train or station, you get no signal.

There is a way around this: put a mini-tower repeater inside the station or the tunnel with antennas that can reach out and touch your personal cellphone while you're on the platform.  BART installed just such a system a few years ago, thus giving its passengers cellphone service that they'd never had before.

Mini-towers require electricity, of course.  BART's cellphone contractor, logically enough, plugged the equipment into BART's power panel.  To turn off the cellphone service, BART technicians simply switched off the appropriate breakers.  Shazzam!  Cellphone signals gone.

BART wasn't jamming the signals, they simply stopped forwarding them.  This was all entirely legal as they have no obligation to forward signals in the first place; it was provided as a courtesy and convenience, nothing more.

One little problem: BART is a government agency.  Private entities don't have to obey the Constitution, but government actors do.

By crippling the ability to communicate in order to thwart a protest against government power, BART committed a cardinal Constitutional sin against the First Amendment.  If there's one form of speech our Founders valued above all others, it's political speech.  Thomas Jefferson would be horrified.

There Is Another Way

Once again, the statist left has fallen foul of their lust for power.  BART's censorship of cellphone-users matters only because BART is a government agency.

There are no private commuter passenger railroads in the United States anymore, but there are private Wi-Fi-enabled bus lines like the Bolt company that goes between Washington and New York.  Suppose, for whatever reason, Bolt Bus decided to turn off Wi-Fi on one or all of their buses, perhaps because they knew many of their passengers were on their way to a protest they didn't like.

You might disagree with Bolt's action and choose not to use them in the future.  But that's all you can do!  It's Bolt's bus and Bolt's Wi-Fi - they have every right to turn it on and off exactly as they prefer and no doubt the fine print on the ticket clearly gives no guarantee that the service will actually be operating.  No crime, no argument, no issue.

If San Francisco's subway were privately operated, as those of New York once were, the San Francisco city fathers could have had their censorship with a simple phone call to their golf buddy, the CEO of the subway company.

Since San Francisco is decidedly statist, however, the government must own and operate every single public service.  Ownership puts them under the limitations of the Bill of Rights.  We trust a pending lawsuit will remind the far-left totalitarians in San Francisco City Hall that there still is a Constitution, and they're still expected to honor it whether they like it or not.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Business.
Reader Comments

This argument is the PERFECT argument AGAINST privatizing anything essential? Because private companies have no obligation to our constitutional rights.

August 18, 2011 10:52 AM

@ Willy:
This is a valid point; private companies are under no obligation to respect you or your rights in any way. But what happens when a private company fails to observe said rights? You can always go elsewhere. If a government refuses to, there's no effective means of sticking it to them. Boycott a local store, they'll go under or be forced into alternative action; boycott the IRS? Then what?

No private company can get dollars from your pocket without your approval, grudging or otherwise; if you refuse, the government will eventually kill you to take the dollars you earned that it has decided it needs.

August 18, 2011 11:11 AM

WW is only partially correct, in my opinion.
When a government, any government, gets involved in any enterprise, it gets screwed up.
If the service to the subways were provided by a private company, one who had competitors, an interrupted service might have cost the company the business, therefore, no interruption would have occurred. A thick wallet is a powerful incentive. Some people have been known to murder to fatten their wallet.
The government should not, in my opinion, even regulate the telephone service.
We foolish Americans pay an enormous percentage of our earnings to various governments to tell us what we can and cannot do. It is pure foolishness. IF we fail to comply, we are jailed and or fined.
Willey is correct that a private company does not have to honor our natural rights as guaranteed by our Constitution. But what private company with competitors would do such a thing?
Some would do such a thing for political gain, maybe, but there we go again, the government interference.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 11:24 AM

From the article: "Private entities don't have to obey the Constitution, but government actors do."

This is an extremely important point. Runaway judicial activism has tried to *make* private companies obey the Constitution.

There's no other reason, for instance, why courts would force white racist store owners to service black customers when they preferred not to. I don't agree with the racist store owners, but the idea that the Equal Protection clause restricts their right to discriminate is absurd.

August 18, 2011 11:32 AM

@ Laura B:

Well said. And rarely said, as well. What we seem to have created as a result is a permanent underclass who understand that no matter how uncivilized, destructive, or lawless their behaviour, there is no sanction that anyone can apply against them to protect themselves and their property against a recurrence. Imagine Al Sharpton magically appearing to denounce a shop owner after a few young, unruly, heavily pigmented individuals are bounced after ransacking the place.

August 18, 2011 11:39 AM

Here's a what-if for you...

Suppose BART learned of a group of terrorists that were going to coordinate the exact location of several attacks by using the cell/Wifi reception in the subway system.

BART would obviously want to stop the attack from happening because their customers would rather not die.

Would they be justified, in that instance, in turning off the reception?

If so, how is that different from them turning off the reception so as to thwart the protests which also aggravate their customers?

I'm not agreeing with what BART did, necessarily, but let's remember what several other recent "peaceful protests" have turned into:

- Stores being robbed/destroyed in Philly
- A man getting beaten unconscious in DC
- A 4 day lootfest in London

Perhaps, BART was thinking about these other "peaceful protests" when they decided to flip the switch off.

It's amazing to me that the same people that get all riled about free speech and the right to protest are the same people that get riled up when protesters turn into unruly mobs that wreak havoc on everything around them. There's two sides to every story. The only real "peaceful protests" in the past few years have been the Tea Party rallies in Washington DC, where even the trash was picked up before they left.

August 18, 2011 11:43 AM

Ifon, your what if is bools hit. If the operators of the BART system, public or private, had knowledge of a terrorist attack, the proper action would be to report it to the Foolish Bureau of Imbeciles (FBI). Of course, that wouldn't do any good, because the FBI is too busy spying on the American public to actually prevent any illegal activity - such as flying stolen airplanes into tall buildings.
To take an action that is unwarranted, whether by a public or private organization, is the wrong thing to do.
Had the operators of the BART system warned the police of the impending action? That is the only proper action. Turning off a service to prevent an action is improper. The cell phone users paid for a service that a government employee decided to stop. And, I guarantee that it was a decision made by one person.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 12:25 PM

My hypothetical isn't bullshit. On the contrary, it's a very realistic scenario - one that the NYC subway operators have run into at least twice in the past decade.

You later said: "Turning off a service to prevent an action is improper"

That's what I was looking for.

To summarize your position, whatever authority is alerted (be it BART's internal security, the local police force or the FBI) you don't believe that the cell reception should EVER be turned off even if there was a confirmed terrorist attack whose success depended on using it.

We disagree fundamentally.

The correct answer is "depends on the situation". There are situations in which it is good and appropriate for government agencies to temporarily shut down a service to prevent catastrophe.

Every day, police set up temporary road blocks (stopping you from freely driving on the road of your choice) because of information they have about criminals in the areas. Is this wrong? Answer: "depends on the situation". Most of the time, it's perfectly good and appropriate and they catch their guy.

Think of it this way - if the FAA had grounded all flights on the morning of 9/11/2001 to stop a confirmed attack, I doubt you or anyone else, knowing what you now know, would have a problem with that.

PS. Again, to clarify, I'm not supporting this specific instance of BART shutting off its cellphone reception. I'm pointing out that these situations are rarely black and white. There's a big picture to consider.

August 18, 2011 12:42 PM

This argument is the PERFECT argument AGAINST privatizing anything essential ---ESSENTIAL.

The key word in my comment is ESSENTIAL.
Essential services - water and power, etc.

At the municiple level these things worked efficiently for the US for the first half of the 20th century. State level educational systems worked well until purposely destroyed.
But I do agree that the federal so-called "government" has no proper authority nor need to be involved in such things.

The way things stand, "Privatization" as we know it today is a corporatist con job, it has NOTHING to do with "free enterprise," just as corporatism has nothing to do with the promotion of the principles of liberty and justice.

Much of our problems have to do with language, language that has been co-opted and spun by corporatist PR. It is commonly referred to as Newspeak.
It has done a great job in confusing people, and putting them against each others throats.

Good luck with all that.

August 18, 2011 12:48 PM

Your point is well taken, WW.
Ifon, my poor delusional friend, are you in favor of the situational ethics that is so prevalent in today's society?
Willy Sutton used that same ethic to justify robbing banks. When asked why he robbed banks, he answered, "Because that's where the money is." True story.
It's the same mind set.
There is a book - a slim volume - that I would recommend. It verifies just what Willy Whitten wrote. It is the words used that cause the confusion.
The book is "The Leipzeig Connection" by Paolo Lionni. It may be out of print, but Amazon may be able to find one or two copies.
In his book, Mr. Lionni traces the history of the takeover of the educational system of the United States of America by none other than the infamous John D. Rockefeller. It was actually a publicity stunt to make the old criminal look better in the eyes of the public.
The situational ethics promoted by the Psychiatrists and Psychologists have brought us to the point of the necessity of importing a king from - of all places - Kenya, to lead our country back to the dark ages. And you, Ifon, are following in lock step.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 1:46 PM

What is delusional about pointing out that subway stations are sometimes targeted by terrorists?

Do you not read the news? Did the depot bombing in Spain never happen?

Good governance is a balancing act. You may not like that. You may have some unavoidable knee-jerk anarchist tendency to reject that, but it doesn't change reality.

"Delusional" is believing that the correct way to fix the overreaching of our current federal government is to abandon rule of law and encourage rioters (your comments in the previous article), get rid of beat cops (your comments about so many ever-present armed forces) and to make stupid decisions for the sake of jingoism.

Your analogy to bank robbers and "situational ethics" is laughably absurd. Puh-lease. The people of the United States have created a government and empowered it with rights that include investigating crimes and taking action to prevent them. And yes, all of that is Constitutional.

Perspective is the even-better part of valor.

August 18, 2011 2:08 PM

"..government and empowered it with rights that include investigating crimes and taking action to prevent them. And yes, all of that is Constitutional."~Ifon

Utterly absurd in the extreme.

The so-called "government" in itself is an unconstitutional ruse.
If you think that this is constitutional government, then you don't understand the Constitution at all.

I'm not going to argue with your twirly bird response. I'll leave it here, because it always turns out to be futile at any rate.

So spin it Ifon, I'll just watch.

August 18, 2011 2:22 PM

Willy, you do realize that the United States Congress has a number of powers provided for in the Constitution, right?

Do you understand that the Congress has the Constitutional authority to create "other jurisdictions" outside the states to prosecute crime, which is why the FBI and military tribunals are both Constitutional.

Have you actually READ the Constitution?

Here's a link to Article 1, Section 8:

Start reading.

Perhaps you and Robert can have a sleepover and study it together.

August 18, 2011 2:30 PM

You are correct. The People of the United States of America gave a legislative body some power.
You mentioned the Constitution. I will assume that you were referring to the Constitution for the United States of America. There are many constitutions. The Lions, Rotarians, Elks, and any number of other organizations have constitutions, as well as some other countries.
The following is from the Constitution for the united States of America.
Article I. Section 1. "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
The government was given no rights to do anything. Read, son, know the definitions of the words you read.
A very limited power was vested in a Congress by the People. Do you understand that line?
In all of my many perusals of the Constitution, the very limited power of the government is mentioned. The RIGHTS of the government? Let us know of the RIGHTS conferred upon the legislative body called the Congress of the United States of America by WE, THE PEOPLE.
You are confused Ifon, and my job is to lessen the confusion of the world, but you are testing my limits to do that job.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 2:44 PM

"The government was given no rights to do anything."

Not a second before making the above claim, you quoted the words of Article 1, Section 8:

"All legislative **powers herein granted** shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives"

Did you notice those three words inside the asterisks?

There's no need for revisionism on what the Constitution says. It isn't confusing and it isn't hard to understand. Clearly, the government was given a limited set of very real powers.

"Read, son..."

I've read the Constitution, Robert. Some of us went to private school where we had to think and study to get ahead. Read your last comment again slowly. Then read my previous one. You're not lessening confusion, you're creating it.

If you're going to attempt to "lessen confusion" you should start out by understanding yourself which powers the government actually has.

(Or perhaps we need to back up a step and make sure you understand what "the government" actually is. Willy has a lot of misconceptions in this area as well. Perhaps he's infected you? "The government" is just the term we give to Congress, courts and the executive branch. That's all.)

August 18, 2011 3:04 PM

"A very limited power was vested in a Congress by the People. Do you understand that line?"

Do you? Evidently not. Congress = government.

August 18, 2011 3:05 PM

I have studied the US Constitution for years Ifon.

August 18, 2011 3:07 PM

"The government was given no rights to do anything."

Not a second before making the above claim, you quoted the words of Article 1, Section 8:

"All legislative **powers herein granted** shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives"~Ifon

There are two forms of political powers. Rights of Liberty, and Authority, granted by the rights of liberty.
The government has no "rights," the powers that government enjoys are "authority."

I studied the Federalist Papers.

I studied the Anti-Federalist Papers.

I have studied the Debates on the Constitution at Philidelpia.

I have an excellent understanding of the Constitution for the United States of America.

All interested might read the following 2 books:

>Presidential War Powers, by Louis Fisher

>Executive Privilege: A Constitutional Myth, by Raoul Berger


August 18, 2011 3:25 PM

Do you know what a Dictionary is? It is a compendium of definitions of words. They are printed in every language, as far as I know.
I would suggest you find one and learn the definitions of "right" and "power". They are different. I am doing my best to "lurn ya sumthin'" but you must be smarter than a rock.
Yes, I understand the line. The powers were limited. They were limited to a geographical area. It is very clear. The area is ten miles square. The powers were also limited to itself. The Congress was never granted any power to legislate for the People. That privilege was reserved to the States and to the People respectively.
The first time that the Congress was given any power to make laws that operated on the people was Amendment XIII section 2. Take a look. Read. Understand.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 3:25 PM

"Do you? Evidently not. Congress = government."~Twibi

The US Constitution establishes a tripartate republic.

The executive, the judicial, the legislative, THAT = government.

August 18, 2011 3:29 PM

Yes, Willy, that's right. Glad you agree. So Rob is wrong in saying that the government doesn't have powers. So are you.

August 18, 2011 3:39 PM

Yes, Willy, that's right. Glad you agree. So Rob is wrong in saying that the government doesn't have powers. So are you.

August 18, 2011 3:39 PM


Robert, Robert, Robert...

You manufactured a hollow debate and are now forced to defend it with increasingly silly rebuttals.

Let's review...

First, I offered up a hypothetical scenario - one that we've seen several times in the past decade - and asked the community if BART would be justified in using the same action in that (admittedly much worse) situation. My attempt was to stretch minds a bit and provide some context to a somewhat-one-sided perspective. I didn't defend BART - I think they acted incorrectly in this instance - but it's silly to suggest that in instances of extreme danger, they would not be justified.

Then, in your ongoing need to negate and ridicule every word I write, you responded that I was bullshit, delusional and using "situational ethics".

I pointed out that these were real scenarios and that there are plenty of similar situations would you would not reject (such as 9/11 or local road blocks).

I also pointed out that the government has been empowered to do these things by the Constitution, which is axiomatically true. I did not say the government had "rights" in the same sense that we citizens (as human people) have rights. I said the government was given POWER.

Instead of debating the examples and scenarios I laid out (would you have supported FAA grounding every flight on 9/11?) you instead chose to attack my one-off use of the word "right", purposefully missing my point, so as to make the errant case that I don't understand the Constitution. Of course, the Constitution has given powers to the government to do certain things at the federal level. It's right there in plain black and white. And of course that's what I've been saying since comment 1 (or whichever number it was).

When you came to these pages, you had sensible interesting things to say. I sorrow that that has changed.

August 18, 2011 3:50 PM

"The powers were limited. They were limited to a geographical area. It is very clear. The area is ten miles square"

And this is flat dead utterly wrong. Among other things, the Commerce Clause gives the federal government the power to act well outside the District of Columbia. You're reading and believing only what you want to read and believe.

August 18, 2011 3:55 PM

Was it Nancy Pelosi who said the commerce clause gives the government the power to do whatever it wants?
According the unholy trinity of Reid, Pelosi, and our fearless golfer, we no longer have the right to arm ourselves against home invaders, of whatever type of thuggery, we are no longer allowed to have prayer in schools, the phrase 'under God' is to be taken from the pledge of allegiance, school boys are no longer allowed to fly the American flag from their bicycles, and if we speak out of the atrocities of a man in Arizona who ran over and killed his daughter because his religion of Islam decreed that she embarrassed the family, we are called racist, and if we disagree with the Kenyan King we have imported we again are called racists. You are believing the putrid vomit from the talking heads who tell us that we are free.
All from the all powerful government.
You are believing the foul odor being emitted from the swamp on the Potomac is as sweet smelling as a rose.
In reality, I believe you may be quite bright, but the snake oil salesman has you believing his liars, the talking heads.
Read the interstate commerce clause one more time.
Have you read the Federalist Papers or the Anti-Federalist Papers? Have you read the notes from the various meetings prior to the formation of this once great country?
Have you read Thomas Paine? Have you read Jefferson's letters? Are you familiar at all with the mind set of the founders of this nation?
Have you read the Holy Bible and the Koran? Have you read the Hadiths?
All but the Koran and the Hadiths were read and studied by me by the time I had completed High School. It was part of my voluntary reading.
The mindset of the founders of this nation was to be free from high taxes, an overbearing government, and a murdering military who were quartered in the private homes of the colonists.
Their desire was a freedom to create, hew out of the forests and the vast wildernesses of this continent a freely operating society.
We now have cameras on most street corners of America. We have audio recording devices as well. We have children reporting their parents for smoking a natural weed.
No defense that you can make, will bring any rightness to any of the government's interventions of our private lives. If your toilet tank holds more than one gallon of water, you can be arrested, taken to jail, and forced to provide bail, and pay a fine. But you are free.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 4:58 PM

"Yes, Willy, that's right. Glad you agree. So Rob is wrong in saying that the government doesn't have powers. So are you."~Twibi

I never said the government has no powers. I said this so-called "government" is illegitimate.
It is 'acting under color of authority', in that it is ultra vires constitutionally.

August 18, 2011 5:01 PM

Oh for goodness' sake, what a bunch of pedants. WW, you are correct that government has no rights. lfon obviously misspoke. Government doesn't have rights, people have rights.

What government has, is powers, as lfon went on to make clear. The Constitution grants government (of which Congress is one part) various powers of law-enforcement, interstate commerce, and so on.

But that has nothing to do with San Francisco or BART, both of which are LOCAL agencies and have nothing to do with either the Federal Government or even federalism (as SF is not a state.) The only connection is that the Bill of Rights now applies to states, thanks to the 14th Amendment - but I note, even that amendment applies specifically to states which neither BART nor SanFran are.

August 18, 2011 5:04 PM

Thank you, Patience, for shaking out the rug objectively.

Patience, since no one else bothered addressing my original questions, I'll pose it to you.

Where's the line between BART taking action for extreme events (terrorism, etc) and for small peaceful protests?

If the peaceful protest turned into a riot/lootfest, would you be okay with BART flipping the switch at that point?

I'm really curious here. I'm not sure I know the answer other than "depends on the situation".

August 18, 2011 5:25 PM

"Private companies have rights; government does not."~Subtitle

I see, again we are restricted to the narrow issue, this time BART.

As you were gentlemen.

August 18, 2011 5:38 PM

I fail to see how the answer could be anything OTHER than "depends on the situation." And for essential services, too.

The police regularly switch off the power to buildings when there's a hostage situation, as it somewhat handicaps the criminals.

I'm not usually keen on shutting down transportation networks for just any threat, but there definitely comes a certain level of known and proven threat for which a shutdown is entirely appropriate. To this day, it is said that there were two more sets of 9-11 hijackers whose planes were delayed and who vanished into the mists of history when the FAA shut down America's airspace and the planes they were on returned to the terminals unflown. That was an understandable call.

If BART's operators felt there was an urgent danger to the security of their system or the comfort of their passengers, it makes perfect sense to discombobulate a violent protest by shutting down the cellphone network. I'd suggest a more artful way of doing it, some sort of kill-switch that allows 911 calls to go through but nothing else, and of course since BART is a government agency you may have First Amendment issues; but a normal private operator has and OUGHT TO have an absolute right to do whatever seems prudent, since the marketplace will discipline stupid decisions.

I think that's what it comes down to. The marketplace disciplines dumb decisions in both directions by private industry. Who disciplines the government? Nobody.

August 18, 2011 5:39 PM

"Who disciplines the government? Nobody."~Patience

Not so. But that conversation is out of bounds.
Isn't it?

August 18, 2011 5:54 PM


I don't know if Pelosi said that or not (about the Commerce Clause). If she did, she's wrong. It doesn't give the feds any power they want, though they certainly act like it does. My preference would be to remove the Commerce Clause from the Constitution entirely since the feds can't be trusted with it. But while it's there - and it is - it clearly gives the government the power to operate outside of DC in and between states in areas related to commerce. There is no greater example of interstate commerce that the Internet. While I prefer they didn't, the government clearly has the Constitutional power the regulate it. I hope we remove the Commerce Clause before it comes to that.

I've read every one of those authors/works you mentioned except two: the Koran and the Hadiths.

And I've also read guys like Blackstone, De Tocqueville and Holmes. I'd suggest adding them to your list too. You probably already have.

I've read the Bible more times than I can count - when I was young, I memorized whole chapters for competitions. While I haven't read the entire Koran, I have read portions of it. Some portions appear to be lifted directly from the Bible, whole cloth.

The "Anti-Federalist Papers" doesn't exist in the formal sense. I've read the Borden Collection which is probably what you're referring to. I've also read Patrick Henry, Cato and Richard Henry Lee - all prominent anti-federalists.

My fear for modern-day conservatives and libertarians is that they have become so angry and bitter over the overreach of government, they are lashing out in ways far too extreme. The Founding Fathers did believe in a federal government and in giving it some powers. They did believe in taxes, they did believe in limiting some freedoms (no one but landowners could originally vote) and they believed that Christian faith was vital.

I was recently at a conference on activism. The two guys running the show were Republican Party faithfuls from way back in the day. They were so bitter about modern politics, they were lashing out at anyone and everyone elected. At one point, they said that Rick Santorum wasn't anti-abortion enough. I had to choke down a laugh.

I don't hate government. Those that hate government have already lost the fight. We must fight within to CORRECT government.

August 18, 2011 7:54 PM

"The Founding Fathers did believe in a federal government and in giving it some powers...and they believed that Christian faith was vital."~Ifon

Interesting... and mythos...a great many of the Founding Fathers were Masons and Deists. The layout and architecture of DC is testiment to that.

August 18, 2011 8:27 PM

John Adams:

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. . . . the general principles of Christianity. . . . I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature"

Samuel Adams:

"The right to freedom being the gift of the Almighty...The rights of the colonists as Christians...may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament"

Benjamin Franklin (the most often cited Deist):

"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men... If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground unseen by him, is it probable an empire could arise without his aid? I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building not better than the builders of Babel."

Alexander Hamilton:

"Let an association be formed to be denominated "The Christian Constitutional Society," its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. second: The support of the United States."

Alexander Hamilton:

"I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me."

Patrick Henry (another often cited Deist):

"Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast"

Patrick Henry:

"This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed."

John Jay:

"I have long been of opinion that the evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds."

John Jay:

"I was at a large party, of which were several of that description. They spoke freely and contemptuously of religion. I took no part in the conversation. In the course of it, one of them asked me if I believed in Christ? I answered that I did, and that I thanked God that I did."

Thomas Jefferson:

"I, too, have made a wee-little book from the same materials, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus; it is a paradigma of his doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book, and arranging them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."

George Washington:

"You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention."

Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 51 were noted Christians and said that it led their "worldview".

Even the Deists, like Jefferson and Franklin, said that they "admired Christ's teachings" and intertwined it in their writings.

August 18, 2011 8:37 PM

Good job, I srand corrected.


August 18, 2011 9:17 PM

It matters not how many Christians, Deists, Theists, Atheists, or Mudd There Fokkers there were or are, the government has no rights.
Read carefully.









There is a difference. Get that difference and we can have a decent conversation.
Understand the words. And do not put words in my mouth. And do not summarize anything that I write. Draw a conclusion if you must, but be sure that it is not a summary of what I wrote. Do not pretend to think that you know my thoughts.
By the way, our fearless golfer just signed an order that the government is going to find jobs here in the United States of America for 300,000 illegal aliens. This will not affect the more than 400,000 Americans now drawing unemployment. Did he have a right to do so? Tell us Ifon, or Patience, or Twibi, does the president of our nation have the right to provide jobs for ILLEGAL aliens, or is it just the P O W E R?
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 9:19 PM

@Robert Walker

"Tell us...does the president of our nation have the right to provide jobs for ILLEGAL aliens, or is it just the P O W E R?"

It has neither! It has the POWER --- nay, the very RESPONSIBILITY --- to deport them and prevent further entry and invasion! How's that?

August 18, 2011 10:14 PM

Well Robert, there is the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate powers now aren't there.

It is not however merely the executive wielding illegitimate powers, it is the acquiescence of the other branches that have led to this ultra vires unconstitutional system of posers and usurpers that are erroneously referred to as the "federal government."

August 18, 2011 10:20 PM

@Willy - you are right, the constitution did nothing to prevent the various branches of government from colluding and conspiring against us all. The legislative branch uses earmarks to give money to their friends. The executive goes tut tut but ignores it. In return, the legislative doesn't look much at all the billions the executive wastes on THEIR friends.

We're all being ripped off by both branches.

August 18, 2011 10:27 PM

WW puts me on the spot every time. And he should. We will get nowhere without some disagreement. Others have taken me to task as well. It is always appreciated that I am forced, if I have any guts, to look at my own positions.
Brother John, you hit the nail on the head.
It is time to retire. I have had enough fun for one day. Actually maybe too much fun.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 18, 2011 10:47 PM

"We're all being ripped off by both branches."~Fred

Yes, but let us not forget it is a tricorn hat.


August 18, 2011 11:29 PM

Government takes over your life one step at a time, it's like the Chinese water torture. To allow Bart to get away with this is that one little step that will be something else next time if they are left alone. The only real answer to this is to get government out of this entirely except for police, fire and military. The rest can be hired out for less money, done better and be more responsive to needs of the public. The only reason there are government employees in the first place is to have voters that the powers at be can depend on to vote a certain way.

August 19, 2011 12:32 AM

I continue to understand the difference between Rights (capital "R") and powers, and have never said anything to the contrary.

For that that are passionate about the subject, I would challenge you to the read this series on "The Wrongs of Rights":

Very well done, and I agree completely.

Not only does the government have no Rights (capital "R"), there are some Rights that citizens don't have either. And there are Rights that citizens have _regardless_ of what the Constitution says.

August 19, 2011 7:57 AM

Liberty is not an INVENTION of revolution.
Liberty is the DISCOVERY of enlightened reason.
~Willy Whitten

August 19, 2011 1:41 PM
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