Ethan ‘Indigo’ Smith, Contributor
Law is meant to protect the inalienable rights of people. But the Patriot Act acts. It does not protect human rights. It is not real patriotism. It imposes the will of institutional government upon people, at the expense of the rights inherent to our humanity.
The First Amendment in the U.S.A. Bill of Rights is the original patriot act. The First Amendment is the formula for true patriotism; a prescription to non-violently oppose monopolistic isms, and isms of all sorts. It is the way in which change is conducted without hostile confrontation. In this way, the First Amendment is the very definition of patriotism.
There are five distinct parts to the First Amendment. These five distinctions spell out five separate rights of freedom, and five stages essential to patriotic action: think, seek, speak, stop, act.
These five rights and actions of patriotism were formulated by the original patriots through their diplomatic, rhetorical and martial experience against the forces of the most powerful empire the world had known. In fact, the Bill of Rights was originally proposed as a measure to appease the Anti-Federalist movement, which opposed extending the influence and authority of the U.S. federal government out of concern that the position of President might evolve into a monarchy – which it has.
All other Amendments are straightforward and pertain to particulars, whereas the First Amendment is an amalgamation of many subjects because it is the explanation of patriotism, protected as an inalienable right. Yet, throughout recent history, the individual rights described in the First Amendment have been coercively and institutionally stomped out, traded in for “security” from some institutionally-conjured threats and fear based assumptions.
When individuals are run over on a large scale, it always begins with the failure to recognize and uphold their First Amendment rights.
The First Amendment, the patriotic formula for the United States, was deciphered, enacted and scribed by our nation’s original patriots. Those patriots understood at a fundamental level that, to be a patriot, one must question, communicate, speak out, stop and act. They also understood that, to institute patriotism into our legal system and ensure that the natural rights of the people are upheld despite changing political climates – the primary motivation of any true patriot – the freedom to question, communicate, speak out, stop and act must be protected by law above all else. These rights are more commonly known as the Five First Amendment Freedoms.
To be a patriot one must always question information in an unbiased manner, especially information provided by government (the employee of the people). When a subject arises that needs scrutiny or correction, one must communicate with others (freedom of speech). The next step is to speak out in print or a loud voice to the public at large about the subject in question (freedom of press). If the subject continues to be questionable, one stops and ceases participation in protest with others (freedom of peaceful assembly). If questions are left unanswered, if the subject remains questionable, or if exploitation continues, then action is taken (freedom to petition government).
“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
To meet the requirements of a patriotic action, there must not be harm or violence done to others and nothing can be stolen, as exemplified at The Boston Tea Party or Big Steep. Essentially there must be no harm done to another. Actions can only be considered remain patriotic as long as no harm comes to the liberty and wellbeing of others. One must always defend oneself if physically threatened; as provided in the Second Amendment. Self-defense to a legitimate threat is a primordial and lawful action, unless one intends to make a statement like Gandhi in the face of institutional sticks.
Conversely, when the rights to free speech and free press are used to say, score political points, create fear and misinformation, or splatter insults, it’s no longer patriotism. If one uses the right to simply to insult, divide or manipulate others, it is no longer patriotism. If people use these rights, this formula for peaceful liberty, to instigate thought, community dialogue and progression, then and only then can the use of these freedoms be considered patriotic. Our government leaders would do well to remember that.
Patriotism and the First Amendment
According to the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
STAGE ONE: QUESTION
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
This Clause prohibits Congress from making laws that prohibit the free exercise of questions pertaining to the interpretation of God. It also provides that government cannot preference one religion over another, which legally prescribes the concept of separation of church and state.
People have the right to question the world and the universe, any theory, any portion of reality and the interpretation of God herself, in whatever manner they see fit. People have the right to question any subject up to and including the interpretation of God through any religion or other discipline. People have the right to question any subject, even established religious and institutional interpretations, and exercise individual interpretations of everything, even God. No individual shall face repercussion for their interpretation of God of any other question.
Why is this important? The beginning to every invention, every story, development, action, indeed every institution (religious or otherwise) began with questions. Questions concerning the specifics and generalities of God are the most rippling. When the law reflects the individual right to question religious and spiritual interpretations, then questioning all else is granted. No subject is above query and no institution is above questions, even those of God.
“All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree.” ~ Albert Einstein
Everything changes and sometimes people lie. The original patriots knew the power of questioning to the health of a society, and as they drafted these Amendments, perhaps over a cup of tea. “Who? What? Where? Why? When? And, how?” they asked.
STAGE TWO: COMMUNICATE
“… or abridging the freedom of speech”
“Congress shall make no law” also applies to stage two and each of the following stages of patriotism. These first two clauses make up what are called the “Religion Clauses” of the First Amendment. People can communicate with anyone, any of the answers they find, even those relating to the interpretation of God. People have the right to speak amongst themselves about whatever they want, including but not limited to religious, spiritual and atheistic questions, answers and interpretations of God and the universe, in any manner they see fit, without restriction or repercussion. And people have the right to speculate question or challenge any statement or interpretation about God, or otherwise, delivered via an institution or individual.
The original patriots communicated in order to find answers when The Company monopolized tea. “This is who, what, where, why, when and how.” they said.
STAGE THREE: SPEAK OUT
“or of the press,”
Individuals have the right to express information to any and all in any form of media, and can demand information of any and all publicly. Individuals are allowed to access and distribute any form of media to enable their public statement. Individuals have the right to publicly ask any question to any institution and disclose and distribute any answer, information, or the lack of it. Individuals and institutions also have the right to question, interpret, research and report on the words and actions of any other institutions or individuals, even government and those who claim to be “God’s representation on Earth”.
Institutions typically prefer partial truths, typically employing “spin doctors” to formulate and shape their version of the “truth” in the eyes of the public, while patriots seek the whole truth in all its ugly detail and distribute it openly. Today institutions have latched onto their right to speak out and do so with wide platform, often with specific biases. To speak out, this clause provides the legal framework for one to be able to openly research and present information on any event, individual or institution, no matter how sacred or institutionalized.
The original patriots exposed the exploits of the powers-that-be. They printed articles, editorials, political cartoons, questions, and stories revealing information. “The questions and answers must be known, here are some questions and some answers”, they expressed.
STAGE FOUR: STOP
“or the right of people peaceably to assemble,”
People have the right to stop and gather with any number of other people in a peaceful manner, for any reason. People can publicly peaceably gather to worship any interpretation of God, or gather for no reason at all, whenever they want. Individuals and entire communities of people can stop, for any reason or no reason at all.
At the heart of assembling peaceably is the desire to alter the status quo. In order to peaceably assemble, one has to discontinue normal routine (“strike”) and participate with others in peaceable action. This was first done by the original patriots who protested taxation without representation and all out Company monopolization. There probably was no tea and little heat. “We have asked questions and arrived at answers, and we cease support of the exploitation we see,” they announced.
STAGE FIVE: ACT
“and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Every institution under the governance of the United States of America, and the government itself, is accountable to the people and to the principles of the republic. This clause reflects that truth, protecting the right of the people to hold any and every individual and institution accountable to its will, and to petition the action of those institutions accordingly.
Redress requires that a situation is declared; that a wrong needs to be set right. The grievance is the announcement of a problem; the redress is the removal of the problem. Under this model, accountability is upheld; communications, gatherings and actions take place in petition of government until the problem is fixed, according to the will of the people. Government is accountable to the people through the trinity of liberty – individualism, individual rights, and independent thinking.
The government itself may be the cause of grievances, including its own branches, and the government can be petitioned to hold any other individuals or institutions in its governance accountable to redress the people’s grievances. If there is wrongdoing, people have the right to ask questions concerning all grievances of any institution and demand answers and solutions. Under the United States Constitution, government is an instrument of the people, not the other way around. Thus, every institution in the U.S.A. is subject to answer the questions of people and to address their grievances If they do not get it, they have the right to stop and to act peaceably.
This was first done, without tea, in the cold, amid the peril of the Boston Tea Party. “We’re mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore!”, they demonstrated.
Patriotism or Disobedience?
Throughout recorded time, oligarchical institutions – those where power is held by very few – have controlled, limited and restricted the five stages of patriotism in one way or another. The original patriots recognized this, and formulated the First Amendment by combining the timeless elements of individual empowerment over oligarchy – questioning, communicating, speaking out, assembling, and petitioning the government we employ. Individuals working together with other individuals, protected by the First Amendment, is powerful.
Today, our political and social reality is dangerously in opposition to those inherent rights protected by the First Amendment. In the 13 years since the Patriot Act effectively invalidated the First Amendment – the original patriot act – we have seen increasingly oligarchical, anti-individualistic controls implemented by government at will – theirs, not ours – and increasingly militaristic policing of those controls happening in our communities.
Meanwhile, exercising genuine patriotism through the actions of free speech, assembly and petition is increasingly labelled by government as “terrorism” and “civil disobedience”. People exercising those rights are increasingly prosecuted for such dangerous reasons as “failure to comply” (the very crime of patriotism) and are progressively treated by government agencies as subversive (and portrayed accordingly by the media who facilitate their propaganda). And recently, government has threatened the legal right of people to hold police accountable by recording their unacceptable behavior on video.
Is this the will of the people? Or of an increasingly militant government?
Government today has clearly overstepped the mark of its delegation. It behaves as the master, not the servant, of people. And while government exerts control not just over the processes of redress available (ie. courts, congress), it also exerts control through manipulation of media over what grievances are ever publicly discussed, and how. Meanwhile, true patriots continue to voice their grievances of modern government and openly seek redress, as is their constitutionally protected right, but the response of government agencies is often to further exceed its authority, violating the First Amendment rights of people to assemble — throwing further fuel on the rising fire.
Enshrined the Patriot Act 2001. All for our own security, of course.
In such a political climate, disobedience IS patriotism. The First Amendment protects the right of people to question the government’s interpretation of its own constitutional powers, and those of its agencies, and to seek redress if they believe they have a grievance. So the question is…
Do you have a grievance?
The REAL Patriot Act
Many interpret the First Amendment as the protection of their rights to worship and gather as they please, and as an assurance of the freedom of speech. But it is more than that. The First Amendment describes, prescribes and defines the role of patriotism in five parts. It is the very definition of patriotism. And it reminds us, by its prominence in the U.S. constitution, that the five elements of patriotism are more than just rights – they are the natural actions of the truly patriotic.
One might interpret there to be broader legal application described in the First Amendment than another, and those hiding behind the Patriot Act 2001 may presume to take away the freedoms it enshrines… but its intent is inarguable: think, seek, speak, stop, act.
Each of these rights could stand alone, but like people together, they are more powerful combined.
The same universal formula applies now, as was applied in 1791.
About the Author
Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humour.
Ethan’s publications include:
- The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of history, philosophy and contemporary politics.
- Tibetan Fusion a book of simple meditative practices and movements that can help you access and balance your energy.
- The Little Green Book of Revolution an inspirational book based on ideas of peaceful revolution, historical activism and caring for the Earth like Native Americans.
- The Matrix of Four, The Philosophy of the Duality of Polarity on the subject of the development of individual consciousness.
- 108 Steps to Be in The Zone a set of 108 meditative practices and steps toward self discovery and individual betterment, including techniques to develop balance, transmute sexual energy and better the self.
- Terra-ist Letters, a controversial work that humorously contrasts the very serious issues of global nuclear experimentation promotion and global marijuana prohibition.
For more information, visit Ethan on Facebook.
**This article was originally featured at Wake Up World and re-posted here with permission.**
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