Thursday, March 13, 2014

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Can a list of quotes be interesting? Indeed they can when they come from one of the most brilliant Americans who ever lived.  Try them and I'll bet you a dollar that you’ll like them.

1) God helps those who help themselves.

2) Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?

3) I didn't fail the test; I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.

4) I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.

5) If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone.

6) In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

7) Many people die at 25 and aren't buried until they are 75.

8) Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

9) No nation was ever ruined by trade.

10) Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.

11) Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.

12) Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

13) The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.

14) Three things are extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.

15) Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

16) To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.

17) Where liberty is, there is my country.

18) Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.

19) Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful.


Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. The views expressed here are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at

Monday, March 3, 2014

Government Based Upon Natural Law – (Part 2) – Appointment of Supreme Court Justices and Limits on Congressional Authority

Appointment of Justices 

Only Supreme Court Justices who are strict constructionists should be appointed - those who will interpret the Constitution as it is currently amended - not as they would like it to be. 

There are certainly times when many of us have wished that the Constitution would have granted more (or fewer) powers to Congress.  But these powers of Congress should be changed only through the amendment process given in the Constitution and not by judicial fiat.

Powers of Congress
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the powers of Congress – in what areas Congress is able to legislate.  Reading this section shows how few areas in which Congress is able to create legislation.

Most areas have to do with the military.  Some of the other more important areas have to do with the:

-   Ability to lay and collect taxes

-   To coin money, and borrow money

-   To regulate commerce between the States and between foreign countries

-   To establish post offices and postal roads

-   To establish rules for copyrights and patents

Furthermore, a number of the Bill of Rights amendments further restrict Congress and explicitly indicate that Congress only has the powers granted to it by the Constitution:

-   Amendment I forbids Congress from passing laws involving religious expression; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; the right of the people to peaceably assemble; and to petition the government for grievances.

-   Amendment II forbids Congress from passing laws from infringing on the right of the people to own and bear arms.  (This is an aspect of the Natural Right we have to defend ourselves, our families, and or countries).

-   Amendment III starts with, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, house, papers and effects, shall not be violated by Congress, except upon probable cause, which must be determined by a judge".

-   Amendment IX states, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  In other words, people have thousands of rights, and they could not possibly be enumerated in the Constitution.

-   And Amendment X states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the to the States respectively, or to the people.

It is certainly clear that the Constitution explicitly limited the powers of Congress.  Clearly, Congress has far exceeded its Constitutional mandates.  A good Supreme Court would have struck down many of these laws. 

Examples of a Law that Violate the Constitution 

Probably the most devastating laws passed by Congress have to do drug laws.  Look as hard as you wish and you will find that Congress has no authority to pass such laws.  It is not the place to go into it here, but so many of our citizens have been arrested for such laws that it is a disgrace.  For further information see Michelle Alexander’s excellent book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." 

As proof that such law are unconstitutional, when Congress wanted to make alcohol illegal (Prohibition), they knew that they had no authority to do this, and instead proposed a Constitutional amendment, which passed, but was soon overturned.  Nanny-state laws have no place in the United States of America, a country based upon the freedom to live in peace.

Examples of Supreme Court Decisions that Violated the Constitution

A famous example of a Supreme Court decision that violated the Constitution was to not allow students to lead prayer groups before or after school, with students who voluntarily attended. This was a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Another series of Supreme Court decisions that violated the Constitution allowed for the "separate but equal" treatment of whites and “coloreds”.  For instance, in Plessy v. Ferguson the ruling required railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches to provide equal, but separate, accommodations for the white and colored races.  The "separate but equal" doctrine applied to railroad cars and to schools, voting rights, and drinking fountains.  However, there was nothing “equal” about these decisions, and they were finally overturned in Brown vs. The Board of Education.

A final example is a Supreme Court ruling about the Ten Commandments.

Here various Supreme Courts have come up with conflicting decisions about this. First, keep in mind that the Supreme Court building has the Ten Commandments inscribed in stone in at least three places.  How could they then rule that other public institutions could not do so?

It is a mystery to me. Displaying the Ten Commandments in a public building has been done since the founding of our country and was certainly not found unconstitutional then. Why now? After all, the display of any text does not ‘establish a religion’ which meant that the US would have an official religion.

Even displaying the words, God forbid, “We love Satan”, would not be unconstitutional, although I, and many other would not walk into such a building.


A Constitutional amendment should be passed that requires Congress to cite the part of the Constitution that gives them the authority to pass a given law.

A Constitutional amendment should be passed that requires Congress to pass laws that have no more words that there are in the Constitutional itself. This would stop the ridiculous laws such as the Income Tax Laws that have over 2 million words in them. What Congressman or person can read a law with hundreds or thousands of pages, which is not uncommon.

The Constitution should be amended to require a balanced budget.  A government that lives within its means does not pass on its debt to our children, who must pay it off with interest.  Such an amendment would force our legislators to make difficult decisions regarding spending and taxes, and not be able to cut taxes and increase spending just to get more votes.  The amendment should include a provision so that, in an emergency, Congress may spend more than permitted if two-thirds of both Houses vote to do so.

This may be hard to believe, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the national debt will be around $17 trillion for the 2013 fiscal year.  This is quite a bit over $100,000 of debt per family!  Each year we must pay the interest on this debt, and the debt and interest has been growing under every almost every administration since 1969. Additionally, the Constitution should be amended so that any tax or spending increases over and above those due to inflation and population growth must be approved by a 2/3rds vote of both houses of Congress.

The clauses in the Constitution that give Congress the ability to pass laws in certain areas are called the “enumerated powers”.  The 10th Amendment gives the states and the people the ability to pass laws in other areas.

By helping to control federal spending and by reducing deficit spending, the three items above will help to keep Congress and the President from inserting themselves into the lives of the people any more than is necessary. And this means that we the people have more freedom to live our lives and practice our beliefs as we see fit.

Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer and Graduate Adviser in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. The views expressed herein are those of the author. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at

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