National Center for Constitutional Studies
|"A primary object.should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing.than.communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?"
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Applying Principles of Liberty to Real Life Events
One of the rewards that a teacher experiences in the classroom is to see his scholars correctly apply the principles taught. So it is in my class of high school seniors who are enrolled in the required class on American Government and U.S. Constitution.
The first textbook we use in class is The Five Thousand Year Leap . Here we find the first and basic beliefs of the Founding Fathers with respect to the formation of our government. In any attempt to understand the United States Constitution, it is essential to study the thinking of those who wrote this document and to read and study what they studied in order to formulate the beliefs on which they based our form of government. This is the message of the textbook, The Five Thousand Year Leap.
In order to get an "A" in the class, scholars are required, among other things, to commit these principles to memory and then stand before the class and recite them. This annual experience serves as one reminder to the teacher that young people are ready to learn and study correct principles. It is as though they are saying, "We are anxious to learn truths of the divine science of politics." (It was John Adams who called politics a "divine science")
A further requirement of the class is that scholars must assemble what I call a Twenty-eight Principle Notebook, wherein at least one page in the notebook is devoted to each of the 28 Principles of Liberty. Here they are to find and attach one current issue for each principle, explain which principle this issue applies to, and analyze the issue in terms of the applicable principle and decide whether the issue supports or violates this principle. This is a major project and makes up a significant part of the final grade. During each of the five or six weeks in which we study the 28 Principles, they are to stand before the class and discuss one of the chosen issues. They then explain how a principle applies to that issue and what they have decided concerning whether the current issue supports or violates the chosen principle.
This annual procedure is another great reward for the teacher. To see a young person search out current issues and evaluate them in terms of correct principles is thrilling. These scholars have not had much experience in doing this at this point in their young lives. But what I have noticed is that many sincere young people are looking for answers in this seemingly confusing world. They are looking for solid foundations upon which they can build their own lives. They see so much confusion and turmoil in their world. A few come from broken homes where traditional family life does not exist. It is as though some are just waiting for real answers to come along. I have also noticed that these young high school seniors can pick up very quickly on hypocrisy, or when someone is trying to tell them something that is different than the way it really should be. They may not know how it should be, but they know what they are being told in the world just doesn't feel right for some reason. But when they hear the truths taught and believed by America's Founders, these young people seem to brighten up and say, "Yes, that just feels right. I can hold to that!"
A few days ago we concluded our discussions of the first few principles which deal with the necessity of the people remaining moral and virtuous in order to maintain freedom. We had also talked about the Founders' belief that the Creator had bestowed upon man certain unalienable rights and had revealed certain principles of divine law to protect those unalienable rights. Some insightful discussions ensued. After class, one of my students came up to me and said, essentially, "Mr. Taylor, I have learned more about religion in this class than I have from my own church." I was surprised by his pronouncement. I do not know which church he belongs to, but it once again confirmed my belief in the effect that the Founders' thinking has upon young people. As Dr. Skousen used to say, "When the Diamond Dust of truth settles upon you, it puts fire in your bones." So it did to this young man.
How are you doing in evaluating current issues?
Each of us needs to constantly make application of correct principles to the events around us. Here is an issue that seems strange indeed, but one which is being given serious consideration. I quote from a United States Department of Agriculture website:
"National Animal Identification System (NAIS)
"As part of its ongoing efforts to safeguard U.S. animal health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated the implementation of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in 2004. The NAIS is a cooperative State-Federal-industry program administered by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The main objective is to develop and implement a comprehensive information system, which will support ongoing animal disease programs and enable State and Federal animal health officials to respond rapidly and effectively to animal health emergencies such as foreign animal disease outbreaks or emerging domestic diseases. Some components of the NAIS are already operational and available for producer participation; the final component will be operational in early 2007.
"The ultimate long-term goal of the NAIS is to provide State and Federal officials with the capability to identify all animals and premises that have had direct contact with a disease of concern within 48 hours after discovery.
"The NAIS is a voluntary program. Producers and other stakeholders can now participate in the program to test the system and offer feedback to help ensure that practical solutions evolve. The NAIS establishes standards for producers to identify their animals and to report animal movements that will support the needs of animal health officials to track animals for the purposes of managing animal diseases. Animal movement information will be maintained by the industry and will provide the traceback and trace forward information for animal health officials while, at the same time, maintaining other information the industry deems necessary for marketing purposes.
"The NAIS is being established through a phased-in approach by implementing these key components:
"Premises registration, the foundation of NAIS, is critical to rapidly detecting and evaluating the scope of animal disease outbreaks and improving emergency response efficiency. The availability of nationwide premises registration data provides for a more timely gathering of information to help manage animal diseases and saves manpower, time, and logistical support. Fifty States, five Tribes, and two Territories, as of March 2006, registered 235,000 premises accounting for approximately 10 percent of the national total.
"Animal identification will streamline emergency response efforts and enhance existing disease surveillance, control, and eradication programs. Identifying each animal, with a unique identifier, at its birthplace and linking that identifier to the premises of origin gives animal health officials a 'starting point' for epidemiologic investigations. Group/lot identification also provides equivalent capabilities for species that typically move through the production chain as a group of animals. Without that starting point, weeks and, too often, months of manual tracebacks are required to determine the source of the disease.
"Animal tracking databases that maintain the movement records of animals will be owned and managed by the industry and States. These information systems will provide the locations of a subject animal and the records of other animals that the subject animal came into contact with at each premise. The data collection infrastructure is a major element of the animal tracking component. The completeness of animal movement records will directly affect the effectiveness of the response to a detected disease and the reliability for achieving the long-term 48-hour traceback/trace forward goal.
"This NAIS implementation strategy provides the opportunity for the stakeholders to take a proactive approach to achieve full industry participation in the NAIS. If the marketplace, along with State and Federal identification programs, does not provide adequate incentives for achieving complete participation, USDA may be required to implement regulations. USDA will evaluate whether the participation levels are increasing at rates that will achieve full participation by 2009. Based on that analysis, USDA will determine if the market-driven incentives, along with industry "buy-in" for improved animal disease programs, is resulting in adequate participation and growth rates for NAIS to be successful by the established target dates. If participation rates are not adequate, the development of regulations through normal rulemaking procedures will be considered to require participation in certain aspects of the program. (Emphasis added) The public would have the opportunity to comment on any proposed regulations."
Response to NAIS proposal from animal owners
An animal-owners website evaluates NAIS as follows:
"The USDA sponsored program would require every premises which houses even a single chicken, duck, turkey, cow, pig, goat, horse, or any other animal considered to be livestock, to be registered in a government database, and assigned a seven-digit number and GPS coordinates - by 2007. The premises owner would be required to pay a fee for the privilege.
"The next phase would require every animal to be tagged with a radio frequency identification device (RFID) by 2008, also paid for by the owner. Finally, by 2009, the movement of any animal from the registered premises would have to be reported within 24 hours. The program would be enforced with fines for non-compliance, which could reach $1000 per day.
"'The program is designed to track the source of a sick animal,' says Meritt Lamb, a Tennessee magazine editor who also helped form the coalition. 'But it will do nothing to prevent diseased animals from entering the food supply chain, nor will it address the problem of identifying imported meat products that enter the food supply chain.' Lamb is typical of thousands of small land owners who keep a few chickens, an occasional steer or pig or goat for their own use, who will be severely impacted by the USDA program.
"'This program will devastate county fairs, and 4H and Future Farmers of America projects, through which children learn how to care for, and show, their animals,' says Randy Givens, a retired army colonel and coalition founder who resides in Texas. 'It will kill the rodeo circuit. These programs have been successful for generations; the NAIS will wipe them out because it is simply not worth the effort, or cost, to register, tag, and report every animal that moves to a show or a county fair, or to a rodeo.'"
Evaluation of NAIS by Principles of Liberty
Here is how my senior class would evaluate the NAIS proposal:
Violates Principle 19 : Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to the government, all others being reserved in the people . The powers of the federal congress are outlines in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. The people have not delegated power to congress for this sort of thing. The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution is violated because it is not a delegated power.
Violates Principle 21 : Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom. If there are any controls on animals necessary for health purposes, local and state governments are the proper level to do it, not the federal.Violates Principle 15 : Life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure . Property is an extension of one's life and labors. When government begins taking property, it reduces the value of human life. The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of one's property is also violated by this proposal.
Could the federal government ever do