Great post derek.
PhillyNORML would like to extend a happy 4th of July to you and your friends and loved ones.
We hope you all remember why we're celebrating this! It's not the fireworks, the food, or the music being belted out at the Parkway... it's our Inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and Happiness which some fool who thought he had "divine right" believed could take away from human beings. Guess what? While not nearly as messed up as what King George did (to people they'd consider citizens or subjects), some of the things OUR government is doing/has done are getting very close. #1 on that list is the Prohibition of marijuana, which our government and police knowingly and willingly use as a tool to violate the very Rights that those we celebrate fought (and in many cases, died) for!
Your first paragraph reminds me of my shock when I was watching the Kagan hearings last week. There was an interesting back and forth where she indicated that she does not believe in the concept of natural law and inalienable rights as outlined in the declaration of independence and paid for in blood.
For any law to be just, it must derive it's moral legitimacy by being consistent with natural law.
When the origin of rights stems solely from positive law and not natural law, such a condition invariably leads down a slow creeping path to tyranny and erosion of all rights. This fundamental truth was an integral part not just of the declaration of independence, but in the formation of the constitution itself by placing strict limits on the power of the federal government via the 10th amendment.
This concept seems lost not just on General Kagan, but on a good number of people eating hot dogs and singing patriotic songs along with the Boston Pops. People will read the sports section of the newspaper, but really should be reading the federalist and anti-federalist papers. Only then can you truly understand America.
The frog's been in the water almost to the boiling point, but is waking up to recognize that what Prohibition represents is nothing less than WAR on the People. We will not sit by while those in power continue to criminalize this one harmless thing for such arbitrary and unreasonable excuses, deny the science and research, and turn a blind eye to the suffering their Policy creates even in light of its complete and utter FAILURE - MEANWHILE knowing full well the dangers and pitfalls of Prohibition from when Government believed it could prohibit alcohol and then REPEALED it because it was such a bad idea. People aren't free or happy when they're rotting in jail for being in possession of a plant, and in many cases these human beings lose their LIVES. IT IS INTOLERABLE and we will not allow our children and our childrens' children to suffer this morally wrong and harmful policy and what it represents.
In 1920, they needed a constitutional amendment to allow the government to outlaw alcohol. Notice that there is no constitutional amendment outlawing marijuana. Notice with marijuana prohibition, the federal government now believies they have the right to restrict marijuana grown and distributed solely within inside a state's borders. The inter-state commerce clause somehow magically morphed into the intra-state commerce clause. With the recent healthcare debate the shredding of the constitution continued, now morphing the commerce clause into the intra-state NON-commerce clause.
Anyone wondering how such things can come to pass should read Brutus' predictions in anti-federalist paper #17.http://www.thisnation.com/library/antifederalist/17.html
The particular clause being argued about has been paired with the commerce clause over time by congress to erode the 10th amendment. The slow but certain shredding of the constitution. If positive law rules and there is no natural law, your rights are quite variable yet the federal government's are now infinite. Which direction is the pendulum bound to swing do you think?
One only has to look to Kelo v City of New London
for a recent answer just as egregious as marijuana prohibition or the healthcare bill previously mentioned. Total erosion of individual property rights with a corresponding expansion of government power. Hey this guy will pay us more taxes. GTFO of your house!
The wonderful liberal bloc of the supreme court once again looking out for the state, err I mean the little guy!
Majority - Stevens, joined by Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
Those in the position to directly make change - be them Republican, Democrat, "Independent", Green, Libertarian, Governors, Representatives, Senators, Presidents, Mayors, or City Council members - need to get past the hypocrisy, get over their baseless fears of political retribution, suck it up, and do the right thing. The same thing that Hancock, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and all those willing to fight and die for their freedom have done.
The people who are in a position to directly make changes are us. Marijuana prohibition is not the problem, it's merely one symptom of the cancer. We need to excise that cancer and stop electing statists to office so as to not let the toils of those you just mentioned be in vain. Madison must be rolling in his grave.