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“The Declaration of Independence was a kind of covenant lawsuit, not unlike those of the Old Testament. It was intended to send a message to both Parliament and Crown that the rule of law would be upheld, regardless of their tyrannies.” — George Mason
What was going on in the colonies leading up to the Declaration of Independence? Were these hotheads that were just looking for a fight?
Off The Grid Radio
Released: July 1, 2011
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, as the announcer says, welcome to Off the Grid News – the radio version of offthegridnews.com – on a very special day. A very special occasion – the 4th of July. I’m Brian Brawdy, as always, with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, Happy 4th of July.
Bill: Happy Covenantal Lawsuit Day, Brian.
Brian: OK … well, as you know, 4th of July is a big deal for me – a couple of reasons – my daughter was born on the 4th of July, so it’s a very exciting holiday for me. But it goes a little deeper than that. The 4th of July – good golly, that’s what our country is all about.
Bill: Without a doubt, that’s what it’s all about. Today we’re going to talk about lawsuits, of all things. It doesn’t sound like the 4th of July and lawsuits have something to do together, but divorce as well. Divorce and lawsuits. A lot of people, especially the Christian folks, are going to “oh no, you’re not going to talk about divorce …” Well, we’re going to talk about the covenantal divorce that was executed against King George III. That’s our Declaration of Independence. That’s what we ostensibly celebrate. But I’ve got to tell you something that happened, and this is the weirdest thing. Stephanie took a call not too long ago from a lady who – well-meaning, I’m sure – I haven’t told you this. This is really good. A lady who wanted to buy our George Washington book that we sell in our store. But here was a caveat – she didn’t want it to have any religious content. She thought the kids at the public school should know George Washington but what she wanted to do to George was what Tommy J. did to some parts of the bible. You get a sharp knife out and you cut those pieces out. She wanted to extract all of the religious foundations, the things that made Washington who Washington was, his foundational ideas, what made him tick. She said “is there some way we can see the abstraction of Washington without seeing the foundational structure of Washington in his life?” She wanted public school children to very much see that. Now, I’m laughing about it today but I have to tell you, I must have been in a really solemn mood because I actually, at the end of the day, looking at Jeremy – and I have to admit this – I went home and cried because we’re at the point where this is the political correct … everything has to be politically correct. You can’t tell the truth about George Washington in our public school system, you can’t say it on TV. As a matter of fact, it’s against the law to talk about George Washington, talk about his real motivations – the things that he held dear – because it violates what today we call separation of church and state. That got me thinking, with the 4th of July coming up, maybe we ought to talk about the real Declaration, just like the real George Washington. We know the real Lincoln wasn’t such a good guy. Someone wrote a book called “The Real Lincoln”, one of our friends. I think the real Washington – a book was written by him, by Peter Lillback, who’s been on Beck with it a number of times called “Sacred Fire.” Peter autographed mine one day when we were talking.
Brian: Great book.
Bill: Great book. And really, you can’t read these books and read about Washington’s life and say “I just want the sanitized version of him …” It sounds a little crazy.
Brian: It begins to look like a Freedom of Information Act that you send to the State Department or anytime you want a government to give you up a form and you get it back in such a redacted form that there’s basically no … huge black lines.
Bill: How can you make any sense of that then, when you get that back?
Brian: You can’t. That’s the intent.
Bill: So you can’t make any sense of George Washington’s life, and what I’m positing today is you’re not going to make any sense out of the Declaration of Independence, unless we get more of the whole story out. I thought we’d take an off-the-grid historical approach to a little more of the whole story. Maybe start in 1775 and talk a little bit about what was going on in 1775 and what were some of the issues that they were dealing with in 1775.
Brian: For our listeners, Bill, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that you’re not only a huge fan of the first President of our country, that when you go – ladies and gentlemen, when you go to Bill’s home he has a – and I love this mural, Bill, that you have – a massive mural above your fireplace of General George Washington. So when you say that a call affected you to such a degree that you go home at the end of the day and you’re moved by that, you really are. I know you.
Bill: I felt like George. I kneeled down by my horse. I didn’t have a horse to kneel down and pray to … do you know what’s odd? Here’s another little segue – our friend Hank Brock – I was talking to him Saturday – Hank has the same picture. We were talking to each other and he made reference to the picture and I was like “do you have this picture?” He had the exact same picture. Is it Friberg – I can’t remember the guy’s name that did the picture.
Brian: It’s a beautiful picture of General Washington kneeling alongside of his horse. It’s beautiful.
Bill: He has some work to do and he needed some help.
Brian: [laughs] I get by with a little help from my friends.
Bill: Well, at this point in 1775 – that’s a good lead-in – at this point in 1775, you had a lot of stuff going on. You already have Lexington and Concord, you had Colonel Parker who, if you remember, I told you was actually related to Kim’s grandfather. You had a lot of that sniping. You had some tyranny going on and you had this pressing and these usurpations against the Colonialists by the British. You had a lot of skirmishing but you never – you still didn’t have any formal declarations or anything. You’ve got people fighting without any kind of a structure in place. You’ve got 13 colonies – more than that, actually – but you’ve got the colonies fighting and doing their own thing. I don’t know if you remember Ethan Allen, but Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, some of his Vermont boys and Benedict Arnold had some of his guys and they went to Ticonderoga during this period. Again, before the declaration. They had this exotic plan they were going to do to capture the fort and everybody knows the story, I hope. at the end of the day, he walks in, basically, and says … knocks on the front door – Ethan Allen knocks on the front door and says “in the name of the Lord God, Jehovah, and the free people of the United States, I demand that you surrender,” which they did and it was over. All of a sudden these guys got guns, so you’ve got the skirmishes going on but you also have guys, Colonial folks, with guns. They were pretty good guns and they had some cannons and stuff too. I think that really exacerbated – it gave them some kind of confidence that they really didn’t have before because you’re working with muskets out of people’s houses. Now it’s the leveling effect – you’ve got the same rifles that the British had. That all started to go on but still no document. These folks were extremely reluctant. They simply did not want to fight against their brethren, that they called them, their fellow Englishmen, their lord sovereign George, their king, who they still felt covenantally bound to honor and be under and they wanted him. It’s so interesting that prior to doing that, prior to breaking away, their attempts to try to get to him – and I gave you one of the pieces of paper – I think a little before they sent that olive branch petition to George, they sent a copy of the 69 Articles of War. These documents are somewhat hard to find. They’re not in common places on the internet. But they sent the 69 documents of war to George before that because they wanted him to know that they were going to come up with some very – there was reasons for their insurrection, that they required justification for their insurrection, that they knew that justification was required. They wanted to lay it out on the line and they even said “this is how we’re going to behave when we fight.” So the 69 Articles of War were a listing of how the Continental Congress was going to – how the soldiers were going to behave. It’s almost like giving them your playbook and saying “this is how transparent we want to be. We’re even going to tell you what our game plan is because we’re honorable people and we still care for you.” I find it amazing that that’s the kind of mentality. Then they sent the piece of paper that you have, and maybe after the break we can read a little bit of that olive branch petition, just so we can understand that these guys did not want to do this.
Brian: Absolutely. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to take a quick commercial break on a very special 4th of July edition, here at Off the Grid News.
[0:09:47 – 0:13:27 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, once again, Happy 4th of July. Brian Brawdy back with Mr. Bill Heid in a very special holiday edition of Off the Grid News. Bill, you had referenced before we went to the break the Olive Branch Petition. What I find interesting is that I believe you to be absolutely correct when you say that they really didn’t want to go to guns. They really didn’t want to go to war. I think if you look at this document, if you look at a lot of the documents supporting the events that led up, even if you just read the opening sentence – addressed to “His King’s Most Excellent Majesty, Most Gracious Sovereign, We, your Majesty’s faithful subjects …” At every turn they’re paying such a great deference to the same king that they’re about ready to take issue with and the different things that are coming. It’s worded in such a subjecting way, do you know what I mean?
Bill: Before you read that, Brian – I totally agree – but before you go any further, let me tell you why that was. Here’s the framework for it. These folks thought they were in covenant with their king. A covenant is – in this case, a political covenant – is a binding agreement between them and the king, not necessarily parliament as much my guess, but between them and the king. And guess who else? God. Enter this third party. This tri-partite covenant that existed – they really didn’t want to leave because they felt bound – duty-bound to be obedient to him. And, of course, inside that covenant – and we’ll have you read a little bit in a second – but inside that covenant, Brian, you had not just the agreement or the contract but you also had the corresponding responsibilities and privileges that went with each side. In other words, George was duty-bound to protect them. They were duty-bound to be his people. They didn’t have any problem with paying taxes, they didn’t have a problem with doing a lot of these things, but they said “we’re in a covenant together.” That’s why it’s so important, some of these other documents, to see this magisterial covenantal language involved so everyone can see – what’s the framework? Why did they not want to leave him? Then when they started to create this language, it invokes this other type of mindset – that’s where divorce comes along down the line. You can see this is more of a love letter, this isn’t a divorce letter.
Brian: Not at all. Again, in terms of the deference and the reverence that’s showed to King George III – and you’re more caught up on the history than I am – wasn’t it also, Bill, I don’t know if it was Ben Franklin or it may have been Adams – who was the founding father that delivered to the king, after the Declaration of Independence, someone went to court to deliver it to the king and was so polite and deferential that the king later said “I can tell this is real and it’s from your heart.” Was it – it was either Adams or Ben Franklin, one of the two. But even then, afterwards, when they delivered it to the king, it was still delivered with that sense of subjugation and reverence for the sovereign.
Bill: This is an old tradition that existed even as long as there’ve been kings, and especially in English history – but even in Cromwell’s time, when Cromwell and Ireton went to arrest the king, Charles I, it was with – how can you arrest your own king? There’s the greatest scene – I’ve talked about it before there – in the movie everyone should watch this movie, “Cromwell.” Here comes Ireton, everyone else had left – here comes Ireton and Cromwell, walking down the king’s – Charles is there by himself, his family has fled to France, he’s there by himself – Cromwell walks up to him and says “your majesty, I have to place you under arrest.” And Charles says – I think it’s Richard Harris that plays Cromwell – but the king then says “I know of no such law that allows you to place a king under arrest.” That’s a pregnant, pregnant conversation they’re having. Then Cromwell’s rebuttal is “well, your majesty, that’s exactly why this war was fought.” In other words, Charles said “the laws are what I make ‘em” and Cromwell said “wait a second, we’re Englishmen. We live under the rule of law and that means you live, as our lord and sovereign king, you also live under the rule of law.” So what’s law? Remember now, you can take all this heritage, fast forward it – because that’s baked into what makes an Englishman back in America – they’ve still got the same thing – love their king but what’s their ultimate? The rule of law, written law under the rule of God is their ultimate commitment and even the king has to abide by those rules, especially after Runnymede, England, 1215 – the point of the sword.
Brian: Absolutely. But it’s – and to use your word again – pregnant in all the documents of that time. When you read the collective works, whether it’s the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, the debate of the Constitution, but even preceding that, you have that sense. It causes me to rewrite in my mind, Bill, as some of the conversations I’ve had with you, what were some of the tipping points that caused this whole thing to go the way it did? “We left because of religious persecution” or “we left because of high taxes.” All the things that you’re taught about in public schools as I was raised. What was the cause of it all? Then you go back to some of these documents and it’s like – I didn’t get the full story. [laughing]
Bill: You didn’t get the full story if you went to a public school, which is the same as me. I think that that’s a good reason for us to be having this conversation today is, what’s really going on? You had in May of 1775, the Continental Congress meeting and delivering some of these documents and making maybe the first movement towards a federalized resistance. You had the states – you even had fighting separately, the 13 colonies, but west Florida had its own war against England. It’s amazing that they weren’t even – New York and New Hampshire weren’t willing to join in, they had their own war against England. These guys were all separate entities fighting. So here these guys are at the second Continental Congress, coming together trying to say “we need some kind of group effort if we want to win.” They did have political beefs and I think it’s important that we say these beefs were political, but the language – the point I’m making is the language that they were trying to illustrate these beefs was theological language and covenantal language, because that was their zeitgeist. I would posit that even the deists among them – this language was common and belief in this was common. George Mason, for example, said the Declaration – I’m fast forwarding ahead, but he said – what’s coming down the pike – “the Declaration of Independence was a kind of covenant lawsuit, not unlike those of the Old Testament. It was intended to send a message to both parliament and the crown that the rule of law would be upheld regardless of their tyrannies.” That’s legal scholar, probably the best legal scholar during that period of time, George Mason – that was his perspective. These other guys all felt the same way. I’ve got a couple of quotes from some of my favorite guys that are ostensible deists. Remember deism – deism is God winds up the clock and then he goes to Monte Carlo or mars or someplace and you’re on your own. There’s a creator but he’s not involved. Here’s a couple of quotes – and again, Jefferson, as you and I know, is all over the place. I don’t think Tommy J had a real smoothed out theological perspective. But he constantly talked about God who gave – here’s one – “God who gave us liberty.” Here’s one from the book “The Writings of Thomas Jefferson” that said at the time “I’m a real Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” Amazing that he said that. You’re never going to hear in these church-state arguments – you’re never going to hear that. Ben Franklin said “here is my creed. I believe in one God, the creator of the universe, that he governs it by his providence, that he ought to be worshipped.” Notice “he governed it by his providence.” That’s incompatible with deism. A providential God is a God that’s involved. He’s got his sleeves rolled up. He’s involved in the colonies. I think everyone, even the old arch-heretic himself, Paine, who in “Common Sense” evokes – really, everyone needs to read “Common Sense” – it reads like a Christian document. Thomas Paine believed the same things. He says in there “but where says some is the King of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain.” Out of all these guys, he was equally honorable of God but not quite as deferential to George III. The brute. But there’s some key issues that we need to cover because you just said something earlier that’s really important – the key issue that really caused this breach more than anything else – it’s not really reported – I don’t know if we’re coming close to a spot where you want to break but we can talk about it at the other side – this key breach is important to understand. What happened after that Olive Branch Petition was sent over? Something amazing that no one talks about.
Brian: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to run to a quick commercial break on this very special holiday version – the 4th of July version – of Off the Grid News. Come on back.
[0:23:42 – 0:27:59 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back and Happy 4th of July. Brian Brawdy here, as always, with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, talk about the king of teases, you said going into the next break that after the Olive Branch Petition was written and sent on or about the beginning of July 1775, you said after that there was one thing that happened – their tipping point – although it’s a term that’s become popular of late because of the book – the tipping point of the day. That was a great tease. I’m even sitting up straight now going “I wonder what he’s going to say now?”
Bill: Well, it’s an amazing story. Here’s this olive branch that lands … I guess we could go backwards and tell you a little bit, right before we say it, what’s going on back home. The Continental Congress needed a leader so meanwhile, back home, you had them in addition to coming up with the Olive Branch Petition – you also had them in need of a leader. You had Washington brought in – I forget what month that was in – I think it was in June. So you had Washington brought in – saying “I’m in,” as you would say. George W. says “I’m in” and says “I’ll take this.” That’s going on back home and they’re starting to see the need for this defense but they don’t want to do it. They just don’t want to do it. So they send this over and who gets the letter and reads it to the king and the parliament? Edmund Burke. Edmund Burke is the guy that said “all that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Famous quote that he had, that of course that quote still remembered. You see it on a lot of plaques today. Edmund Burke pleaded with congress to let these people go – to not go to war against them. But unfortunately he was the only one. So he read that Olive Branch Petition and said “these guys – they really want to be your subjects, your majesty. Members of parliament, these are good people, just like you. They’re your brethren. Don’t do this. Don’t fire on them.”
Brian: Well, if it’s cool with you, Bill, I’ll read you some because I was so moved by this when you gave it to me. I’ll read just one little part of a couple of paragraphs that supports exactly what you say. “Thus called upon to address your majesty on affairs of such moment to America and probably to all your dominions. We are earnestly desirous of performing this office with the utmost deference for your majesty. Attached to your majesty’s person, family and government, with all devotion that principle and affection can inspire. Connected with Great Britain by the strongest ties that can unite societies and deploring every event that tends in any degree to weaken them. We solemnly assure your majesty that we not only most ardently desire the former harmony between her and these colonies that it may be restored.” Listen to that. If you’re ever talking – you’re out somewhere and you’re ready to get in a fight and you’re going “I really, really, really don’t want to do this. Please just leave me alone. Leave me be.” And you keep backing up, you keep backing up. The thing is, say, 30 paragraphs as you know, Bill – the Olive Branch Petition but it’s all over there where they’re saying “your majesty, the sovereign.” Again, deploring every event that tends in any degree to weaken that bond. How much more back pedaling can you be than that sentence?
Bill: There was certainly rabble rousers in the group. I think that’s not the original Olive Branch Petition that Thomas Jefferson wrote. That’s the massaged version that someone else wrote. He was a little bit too much of a firebrand which tells you where he was coming from. He was very young at the time and really “gave it to ‘em” kind of hard.
Brian: The beginning of the brute line of conjecture – making of the brute.
Bill: Yeah. He wanted to kick some brute butt. But in this case, this was sent and that was what the Continental Congress said – let’s send this and try to see if we can’t make peace. Keep in mind, the phrase “reluctant revolutionaries.” That’s what they were. And they also didn’t want to do anything that would break this sacred covenant that they had. They would tread lightly because of the covenant. It was part of what unified them as colonies. “We’re subjects” and they were proud of that fact – subjects of this king. Anyway, the king gets that and pretty much says “phhhttt.”
Brian: Now did the king, Bill, then author the Declaration of Rebellion? Is that how it goes down?
Bill: Not personally.
Brian: Right … but the Declaration of Rebellion is his response to the Olive Branch Petition?
Bill: Yes. So here’s what happens. The Declaration of Rebellion and a backdoor idea is – he was Hanoverian, he was German, he wasn’t even an Englishman, and they still had deference to the guy. What he did was create a treaty with some German states that were close to Hanover. He created a treaty that allowed him to start drawing German mercenaries and creating this mercenary army. Well, that was it for these colonialists, who said “look, we have a relationship with you and God. And now you’re going to buy your way …” Can you imagine, husband and wife get into an argument and the wife writes her husband a love letter and says “we’re married, there’s got to be something we can … we have a covenantal relationship. There’s got to be some way to work it out.” Meanwhile, the husband goes and hires a mafia guy to beat his wife up. Well, she really ought to, at that point, say “I think this is going south. I better get a pistol” or mace or whatever.
Brian: Right, “better be prepared to defend myself in whatever way.”
Bill: I better be prepared to defend myself. And so they did. Then the language, again, is very interesting, because John Dickinson at the time was in freak-out and he said “divorce.” Divorce? That just strikes us as so odd because why would you need to divorce? If you had a covenantal agreement like in marriage and you had a covenantal perspective on the world, you need to get out of that. But these guys are so noble, they’re not even going to get out of it by saying “heck with you.” They’re going to say “whatever we do, we have to justify to the God of the universe and to all the other nations of the world,” right? So “if we’re going to write a document, we’re going to have to create something.” Between Dickinson and Richard Henry Lee, you had folks starting to get a little upset about what was going on. They got together, basically, and what they wanted to do – this was Richard Henry Lee’s idea, I’m sure influenced by Mason and John Dickinson – they wanted to issue a covenantal lawsuit against the king. “We’re going to file suit against you,” just like a divorce suit. And, here’s the funny thing, this was modeled, as Mason said, after the Old Testament Prophetic Lawsuits. In other words, when Israel became apostate, God divorced them. Good-thinking Christians say there’s no divorce – well, God divorced a people. He divorced a people. There’s a deeper story than just that, the story goes on, but let’s be careful of the language we use because that language is very strong language and it is there biblically. These guys did that same thing – “we need covenantal language, theologic language and we need to get rid of this guy. We need a formal way to say to the world ‘we’re leaving this relationship.’” It’s an amazing story about how they tried to get out of that. During all of the efforts by them to continue to stay in – and remember, at the same time, in the Continental Congress you had some guys that really wanted … you had your Sam Adams guys that were rock throwers and you had other guys that really still didn’t want to. But I think they got to the point where they finally just said “no more.” So here you’ve got this situation of Richard Henry Lee – and everybody thinks Tommy J wrote this thing, and he did pen it, but let’s talk for a second about the reaction to that, because what they wanted to do is create this lawsuit and Richard Henry Lee was the guy that originally made the proposal that they break from England. Richard Henry Lee gets this idea, proposal to break from England. Then they get an idea – six people should write this up. So they broke into this little committee of six people. Richard Henry Lee was there, Jefferson was there, Robert Livingston was there, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Ben Franklin. Here’s what happens – again, in Continental Congress, Richard Henry Lee makes the announcement “it’s our intentions to leave.” But then his wife gets sick and he has to go back. He goes back home, back to Virginia. Now there’s five. He hands his young protégée – the secretary of the group, not the guy that’s supposed to write it, but the secretary – three books. When we come back, let’s talk about the three books that Richard Henry Lee gave Tommy J and said “draw from these and file a covenantal lawsuit against the king.”
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, the second greatest way to throw it to a break today. We’ll be back on a special 4th of July edition of Off the Grid Radio, here at offthegridnews.com.
[0:38:04 – 0:42:23 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, as the announcer says, welcome back to the 4th of July version of Off the Grid News – the radio version of offthegridnews.com. You know, Bill, you were saying before you went to the break about Richard Henry Lee. I thought, only because two of my favorite quotes of his, one’s a little self-serving – I’ll get to that one, but the second one, I think, supports what you’re about to say. One of my favorite quotes of his is “to preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike especially when young how to use them.” For me that’s always been the beginning of our Second Amendment. Now for you, here’s a quote – so it’s not me being selfish – the second quote – “the first maxim of man who loves liberty should be never to grant to rulers an atom of power that is not most clearly and indispensably necessary for the safety and well being of society.”
Bill: Brilliantly said.
Brian: Isn’t that beautiful?
Bill: And anybody should look into this man’s works because he was a good thinker. Really, as we’re about to talk about these books … do you remember Brokaw wrote this “The Greatest Generation”? You know what? No way. No way do those guys stand. If I’m picking my team, I don’t need Lebron or Wade or anybody, give me John Adams and Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry … I’ll create a team that during the Second World War that generation that Brokaw said – I mean, really, is there any comparison to those people? He just wanted to sell a book. And I’m not saying there weren’t heroes during the Second World War, obviously there were many, many great men and heroes. But in terms of thinkers and in terms of doers, in terms of character, you’re talking about the greatest generation here, without a doubt. Here’s some books that formed that generation – Richard Henry Lee’s wife is sick, so he’s on his way back – he gave him some other documents too, but I think the big three that had an impression with Jefferson – he gave him “Lex, Rex” by the Puritan, Samuel Rutherford, that law should be king. That’s that Cromwell issue that we talked about. Who’s really king? Is it the king or is law above the king? We’ve got to decide that. Someone’s got to decide that. Rule of law. That book was hugely influential among the founders during that period of time. The second one that he gave him, something king of unusual. Not too many people realize that this book was part of the landscape but it’s Puritan writer Thomas Hooker’s “Commentary on the Book of Judges.” It was all about the justification of rebellion. The “Book of Judges” actually is about that – you’ve got philistines and then who comes to the rescue and judges – you’ve got Sampson and other judges that come. So there’s the issues of “when is it time to go.” The Bible says there is a time to go, I don’t care what anybody says. There’s a lot of pacifists out there but the Bible says there is a time and it’s discussed in this book. This book was a big part of … you want to have restoration – if you read Hooker’s book, you want to have restoration but at some point you say “we’re going to pull the trigger.” The last book was Locke’s “Second Treatise on Government” which was – a lot of people know that that book was part of Jefferson’s mindset. But when we talk about rights and inalienable rights and endowed with rights, that sort of language, Jefferson didn’t make that up. He was borrowing from 200-300 years of Reformation history and then history in this country. Locke was a great Christian thinker as well when it came to that. Rights – from Locke’s perspective, rights had to come from somewhere. Where do they come from? I’m saying all these guys said the same thing – your rights came from God, because if you say rights come from other men then other men can take those rights back. It’s not hard. It’s not hard. So he took those books and what he came up with was our Declaration – our covenantal lawsuit against the king, which is magisterial, beautifully written – probably one of the greatest documents ever composed, I think.
Brian: And I think a lot of people, when you listen to news or the radio or anything going on today, a lot of people may not even know they’re quoting it, but you hear a good bit. I want to read this little part of it, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It doesn’t get much better than that. That’s it.
Bill: It doesn’t get much better and what’s bizarre about this whole thing – here we are in 2011, you could take the same thing and basically aim it back at the powers that be that exist today and you have the same beef. There’s 27 beefs listed here and, boy, there’s a lot of them that would need to be polished a hair to fit where we’re at today, but I think on this idea of rule of law – you and I had talked with Jonathan Emord before – what’s escaping is the rule of law. As we discussed, there was – what was his perspective? 90 percent of all the laws that affect you that can put you in jail, that can get you in trouble, really don’t have anything to do with parliaments and congresses or anything.
Brian: Or elected officials. I call it the legislative leviathan – the bureaucracies. I think we were talking at lunch one day last week, Bill, about the report that said 77,000 people currently in the federal bureaucracy make more than any governor of any state in the United States. That’s how big the bureaucracy is. You’re right – they enact, they legislate these laws and they’re not elected. They’re appointed officials. As we’ve also discussed before, outside of any recourse – who are you going to go after?
Bill: The standard of law …
Brian: Too many brutes, to use a term … too many brutes.
Bill: Just think, if you were to write that again, you would be doing things … it’s almost like the Ferengi or some Star Trek thing has attacked us, instead of this monolithic thing, it’s this thing that’s got into us – it’s more like a virus that’s got into our culture, into our minds – it’s gotten into everywhere. George Grant makes three points about the Declaration of Independence that I think are really good. He said “you have the rule of law.” This is what they were trying to accomplish – rule of law. Had to be primary. He said “the idea of a national covenant that brought everyone in,” saying “this is the stuff that we agree on, that we all really believe in. This is the stuff and staff that make up our lives as Americans.” That national covenant, again – it’s almost a transfer, Brian, from the covenant with George, but transferring the covenant with God from the Continental Congress and the people and God and saying “we are now … our covenant has moved. We still have a national covenant, it’s just moved. Our allegiance has shifted from George, who broke the covenant. He was the one that broke with us. He fired these shots. He did all these usurpations” – they list. The last one was that the lawsuit was also they didn’t want to be reckless so I think it also has this idea that it was rooted in some kind of stewardship. I think towards the end we get this idea of life fortunate and sacred honor. Instead of somebody else doing it, and someone else being in charge, it was right there – give me liberty or give me death. “You gotta kill me …” That’s a perspective that – all three of those things – the rule of law, the national covenant with God and the lawsuit rooted in personal stewardship – I think those things are vapors, for the most part, in our culture today. People can blame guys at the top but you know my constant drumbeat – I think there’s blame at the top, but I’m also worried about the guy up the street, because he doesn’t know these things. He’s like the public school teacher that called in that wants George Washington without any foundational issues.
Brian: Redacted …
Bill: Redacted … you should write a book called “The Redacted Washington.” Where do we go from here? I know we only have so much time to talk about this but what happens when the truths that someone once held are no longer self-evident? I think you can go right to the beginning of this document, Brian, and say there’s no common agreement on that. “National covenant” is not true. I don’t think that anybody … I think that the Left and the Right, really, don’t think that that’s a valid statement.
Brian: I think you would be supported. Just look at the actions – wasn’t it also George Washington, if I remember, said “the quickest way our new government, our new constitution can get in trouble is with political factions.” If gang was the vernacular of the day, he might have said “these political gangs, these entrenched political parties.” I think our listeners would absolutely agree with you.
Bill: So ultimately the, you no longer have a pluralistic nation, you have a nation that can no longer agree on what the standard is. I always like to do this a lot with my kids, or I did when they were around the house, is we all love Judge Napolitano because, unlike a lot of folks, he gets to the issue and says “this is wrong because it violates this.” I would take my kids and say “let’s go a step further. Why is it wrong to overtax somebody?” Why? Because you said it is? Or is there something bigger than that? Is God part of this? Are there some places to appeal? There again, in the English Civil War, as well as the Revolutionary War here, placards that were carried often said “appeal to heaven.” If you’re just appealing to the world court, there’s nothing transcendent … you can’t get out of that, you’re caught in a man-centered world. They always wanted to appeal to a standard that existed not just located in an imminent perspective. They had a transcendent perspective – always something to appeal to, outside of currently where we’re at. I think that one of the big difficulties is we’re definitely not at a place where we can agree on what the standards are. What are the standards by which we want to be judged or be ruled? I think those standards vary from person to person. These guys, for these folks, those standards were very much the social glue, as George Grant mentions in that covenant part, that national covenant, there was a social glue that bound that. Today we’re bound by the economy maybe? Money? And then beyond that? What happens if the economy goes down? What’s going to bind you? What’s your covenant with? Do you have a covenant? Do we have a national covenant?
Brian: Well, if you quote the late George Carlin, our covenant is with our stuff, remember?
Bill: Our covenant with our stuff.
Brian: It’s all about our stuff. I need a bigger house to put in more piles of my crap. I need more stuff.
Bill: Just like Jefferson, George Carlin ends up being more right than most pastors. He understands that, that that’s where our idols is. That’s what we worship. That’s what our covenant is. My biggest fear, obviously, is what happens when this economy goes down and the thing that we say binds us on the surface, the thing that we talk about all the time, goes away? Are there roaming bands in the street or do we form a new thing? Is there a new thing possible to be formed? I think that’s an interesting possibility. You’ve got to remember, these guys just wanted to be left alone. They’re kind of like our listeners – don’t push me, don’t push me, don’t push me.
Brian: Sure. Leave us off the grid. Leave us off the grid. We don’t want to be tied into you.
Bill: We just want to be left alone. I think at some point that these folks during this period of time said “I guess we live in a world” – theologians would say “it’s fallen” – “I guess we live in a world where some folks do bad things to other folks.” Quite a revelation, right? Quite a revelation. But how long’s it been going on? For as long as we have recorded history. Chinese, Jewish, I don’t care. It’s just going on. One person wants to take somebody else’s stuff. So now what? I think what we’re going to have to do, you’re going to have to think in terms of these covenantal lawsuits again. And think – you have children, I have children and grandchildren – how do we want to leave this world? Is it time for another lawsuit?
Brian: It could very well be. You know what, Bill? I ask the question a lot of late, how do we protect, how do we guarantee the word that we gave to our grandparents without throwing our grandchildren under the bus? I bet if you ask the people of Greece, everything going on in Athens over the last couple of weeks, look what’s happening there – how do you keep your word to your grandparents – look at Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, some of the other entitlement programs – how do you keep your word to them but then realize in doing so you’re basically saying to your granddaughter “I hope you don’t mind here, but I’m going to stick you with 50 percent of the bill by the time you’re 18.” How do we do that? You’re absolutely right to ask that question, what’s going to happen? Are there going to be gangs roving one way? For me, I believe that there is that spark, as you know, in all of us, and that there will be time for the second greatest generation – speaking to your point before – there are going to be people that wake up and go “you’re not going to push me around. You’re not going to do it anymore. This is my line in the sand. If it costs me a little, at least I know my grandkids will be free.” I believe that those people are out there. It’s just not time for them to be called yet I think.
Bill: I got goose bumps as you said that because I really agree. I think from my side I can end it – I think there is a legacy of the lawsuit. I think we commend that to our listeners. I think that it’s theirs, it’s been handed down to them, this covenantal lawsuit and the legacy of it. It’s incumbent upon our listeners and Americans to teach their children well, as the song would say, and then ask yourself about what’s intergenerationally look like? When you pass on, what’s somebody going to say about your life? Where you put your life, your fortune and your sacred honor? I think that’s about all I’ve got to say on it. We know how these guys did. How are we going to do?
Brian: I’m not going to be able to top that only because that’s the way they ended the Declaration of Independence – “… And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Bill Heid and everyone here at Off the Grid News and our parent company, Solutions from Science, Happy 4th of July. We live in the greatest country this planet has ever known. Go out and celebrate it with your family and your friends. As always, again, thank you for listening to us at Off the Grid Radio. Be sure to email us with your questions, your comments, your critiques at [email protected]. Of course you can find us on our new and improved Facebook, Facebook.com/offthegridnews and on Twitter @offthegridnews.