I wrote this on Facebook as a summation of a series of tweets I sent out today and copied to my Facebook wall — including links to both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

J. Neil Schulman @jneilschulman

Edward Snowden is mistaken. He did not break the law because unconstitutional acts or policies are void ab initio.

Snowden needs immunity to testify against his superiors who engaged in criminal violations of the American people’s constitutional rights.

The American people need not fear that opposing the government will lead to either anarchy or tyranny. We did this already and remember.

If you’re an American fearing for our country it’s time to re-read our founding document:

If you’re an American needing to decide between the government and Edward Snowden read our Bill of Rights:

Save Edward Snowden
Save Edward Snowden

This one is too long to begin on Twitter.

The United States of America was founded by revolutionaries. They were different from any revolutionaries that came after them — not as vengeful or bloodthirsty as the French revolutionaries that overthrew their monarchy only a few years later; not guided by junk economics as were the revolutionaries in Russia in 1917 nor those Marxist revolutionaries that followed in China, Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere; not the deluded revolutionaries that pledged absolute loyalty to the mad Adolf Hitler and his legions of human demons.

The American Revolution, despite its failures, was the only one based on the principle of the sanctity of the individual human life. It makes all the difference in the world.

We are faced today with government that abuses the people’s rights and liberties, makes promises it is inherently incapable of keeping, and which exercises despotic powers never granted to them by any fundamental document.

The founders attempted to provide safeguards for the people’s individual rights and liberties. Those have degraded over the centuries. One can look back and find the reasons why this experiment in republican government failed — the seeds of these failures were not a secret even at the time of the founding: slavery at the top of the list, subjugation of women following closely — willingness to abandon principle for utilitarian perceptions of advantage providing a centuries-long slippery slope — and finally counterrevolution by those who worship only empire and wealth.

The people’s house — Congress — was supposed to make sure bureaucracy did not make law. They failed.

The federal courts were supposed to keep government within its enumerated powers and protect the people’s rights. They failed.

The executive branch — the Presidency — was supposed to act only to protect the people’s individual rights and liberties. They instead substituted security and safety nets for liberty and violated the very job description to which they pledged their oaths.

This is not the first time on this continent that government has failed the people. The British monarch and parliament were once the government over the colonists — and when the people decided their rights were being trampled by their own government, they declared an intention not to allow that to continue.

John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence
John Trumbull’s painting, Declaration of Independence

The specifics of despotism do overlap with the causes stated in the Declaration of Independence but there are grievances that differ from those of 1776. The specifics aren’t as important as the same pattern of abuse.

I am a libertarian pledged to the Zero Aggression Principle and even in defense I do not advocate violence as the needful strategy to re-secure our liberties. I advocate non-compliance with evil laws and building resilient new institutions that can survive violent attacks by those despots who claim legitimacy drawn from founding documents they ignore and betray. No power not derived from those documents has moral authority and no power even based on a compact made by the dead can bind the living when the result is legalized murder, robbery, and replacement of decency with dictate.

Do not fear for the future of the American Dream. Though Americans have struggled over and over again to fulfill the promise of our founding principles, those principles are the universal Rights which those of conscious mind and right of independent action derive from our common nature — however that nature came to exist.

We have stood up against tyrants, criminals, and bullies for a long time now. Anyone who thinks we’ve forgotten — and some of us have — need to realize how simple and quick it is to remind the next generation the legacy left in their care … and why nothing they seek will make them happy if their liberty isn’t preserved first.

–J. Neil Schulman

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