Two hundred years ago our ancestors signed a document which forever changed the course of history: the Declaration of Independence. That document severed the bonds of Colonial America to a tyrannical king and parliament in England, and established for the first time a society based on the principle of the rule of law and limited government.
The result was a glorious 200+ years which witnessed the greatest achievements, the highest standard of living, and the greatest levels of individual freedom in human history. But, bit by bit, the principles which made this country great have been forgotten – to the point where the uncontrolled growth of government now threatens to totally destroy our liberty and our prosperity.
Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and the other signers of the original Declaration of Independence were well aware of that danger. That’s why they made these observations about the nature of man and government, which are as valid today as the day they were written:
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 – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Man-kind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. (emphasis added)
Now, over two hundred years after the statement of these eternal truths, it’s time for us to proclaim a new Declaration of Independence.
We the People of these50 States have patiently suffered mounting government outrages against us – lies, corruption, legal plunder and terror. We have waited in despair for reforms and redress, but the outrages have only gotten worse. We can now wait no longer. The fundamental rights of “We the People” must be restored now. Government’s role must be limited to protection of our lives, liberty and property. When government ceases to be our protector and instead becomes our master, it becomes an abomination. These are the crimes of the modern American State against its citizens:
- They have “erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat our their Substance.” The IRS, Justice Department, police, State and local revenue authorities and a multitude of other government agencies have engaged in an escalating orgy of terror, legalized looting and wholesale seizure of private property to feed the appetite of arrogant and rapacious bureaucracies.
- They have multiplied laws and regulations beyond reason or humanity, subverting both the words and intent of our Constitution and Bill of Rights to the point where there is not a single American who could not be arrested, imprisoned and impoverished for violating one of the millions of arbitrary and incomprehensible government laws and edicts now in force.
- They have instituted oppressive and destructive taxes; stolen over half of our incomes year after year; compelled us to testify against ourselves by filling out endless compulsory reports; made us into unpaid government spies and tax collectors; and destroyed our peace, security, and freedom in order to finance their oppressive bureaucracies, failed social programs, and wars of aggression.
- They have seized control of our economy and have dictated and controlled every aspect of how our businesses must be operated. They have issued edict upon edict, issued regulation on top of regulation, instituted fine after fine, treated us as common criminals, imprisoned us, and seized our property.
- They have destroyed our financial security. They have debauched the currency, substituting worthless paper for gold and silver. They have clandestinely seized our banking system – inflating currency and credit and looting the real wealth of the people.
- They have burdened us with enormous waste and government debt which have brought our nation to the brink of bankruptcy. They have destroyed jobs and stifled private initiative with suffocating regulations and oppressive bureaucracies.
- They have subverted the electoral process through unjust and exclusionary ballot access and campaign finance laws. Vast sums of tax-extorted monies have been used to create a Congressional Monopoly and an Imperial Presidency which have crushed dissent and excluded any serious challenge to their power.
- They have hobbled and corrupted our system of justice by creating endless numbers of technical crimes against the State, and crimes without victims – making vices into crimes, dissent into treason, and sensuality into perversion. They have seized billions of dollars worth of property without due process of law, imprisoned countless thousands without indictment or trial, and have made equal justice under law impossible by manipulating courts and juries, terrorizing our attorneys and seizing their fees.
- They have kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies. In direct violation of the Constitution, US troops have repeatedly invaded and reduced foreign countries to ruin without declaration of war by Congress. They have used force to compel our children to fight and die in foreign wars far removed from their homes. In the name of the War on Drugs they have declared open war on the people of the United States, invading farm and field, village and home, and spreading terror across the land.
- They have perverted our relations with other nations, using their power to support foreign despotisms. They have bribed other nations with foreign aid, restricted foreign trade, and exported massive quantities of weapons of death and destruction – fomenting discord, repression and war throughout the world.
- In the name of “peacekeeping” and assisting other nations, they have illegally waged war on many nations and innocent peoples, committing mass murder in the name of peace, making the US hated throughout the world, and US citizens the victims and targets of terrorism.
We submitthat the government of the United States of America has abrogated its sacred covenant to protect the life, liberty and property of the people of this nation so that now, with the collapse of major foreign threats, our own government has emerged as the greatest menace to freedom, prosperity and peace, both here and throughout the world.
We further submitthat we, the people, have all but lost control of our political institutions and that government has ceased to be our servant, and has become instead a terrible and tyrannical master. To restore the freedom, peace and prosperity of the people, we therefore demand:
- That the protections of individual rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights be strictly enforced. That all laws be abolished which restrict freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and enterprise; the right to keep and bear arms and the right to own and dispose of property. That henceforth political leaders, legislators or judges violating their oaths to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights be tried for treason.
- That Citizen Grand Juries not under the control of government-appointed judges or prosecutors be convened in each State with the power to indict government officials and employees who violate the rights of any citizen, and that all officials and employees so indicted be promptly brought to trial.
- That a “Citizen Veto” be created at federal, state and local levels, whereby all citizens can veto any new legislation – including revenue acts. We also call for the establishment of a universal Citizen Power of Recall so that unscrupulous politicians may be removed from power by citizen initiative.
- That the Income Tax and the IRS be abolished and that all persons jailed for tax evasion be freed.
- That sufficient government property be sold to retire the national debt. That all government agencies which are not clearly engaged in the protection of life, liberty and property of the individual be disbanded.
- That the Federal Reserve, FDIC, FSLIC and currency laws be abolished, and that banking and insurance systems be left to the private sector in order to restore security to our banking system
- That all laws creating government monopolies in education, medicine, utilities, mail delivery and other public services be abolished.
- That State and Economy be separated, and that federal control of interstate commerce be confined to prohibition of tariffs and trade restrictions between States. That freedom of association be restored to enterprise, including freedom to hire, fire, contract and negotiate; that all capitalist acts between consenting adults be legalized.
- That all restrictions upon foreign trade be abolished, including tariffs, quotas, import duties, license fees, content laws, and “dumping” laws.
- That all federal laws restricting gun ownership be abolished, and that a trained, well-armed citizenry be encouraged, as a defense against domestic criminals, foreign aggression and domestic tyranny.
- That due process of law and the presumption of innocence be restored. That RICO statutes and other laws enabling the government to confiscate property without the owners being convicted of any crime be abolished. That the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution, preserving the right to trial by jury in civil disputes be strengthened to include disputes between Citizens and the State.
- That all Civil Forfeiture laws, and other laws holding “property” hostage for crimes, shall be immediately and completely abolished, and that henceforth no citizen shall be deprived of any property (except as punishment for a real crime against persons or property) of which they have been convicted.
- That all jury members be explicitly informed of their right to judge the law as well as the facts in every court case, and to acquit if they find the law improper or unjust.
- That Sovereign Immunity, which makes government officers and agents immune from prosecution for their crimes, be abolished. That presumption in trials in favor of government officials, police officers and other agents of the State be ended. That government officials and agents, and citizens be treated as equal before the law in all cases, both criminal and civil.
- That all victimless crime laws be abolished, including laws restricting the sale or possession of pornography and controlled substances. That the War on Drugs be ended, Drug Peace be declared, and all persons imprisoned for victimless crimes be immediately freed and their records cleared.
- That immigration laws and the INS be abolished. Henceforth the only persons restricted from immigrating to the United States shall be known criminals or those carrying easily-communicable diseases. That imprisoned illegal aliens be freed.
- That the function of the military be confined to defense of the territory of the United States, and that all US troops be removed from foreign countries. That henceforth, the sole purpose of the military shall be protection of the lives and property of US citizens at home.
We seekto create an America in which the freedom and sovereignty of the people are restored; in which the functions of government are limited to protecting life, liberty and property; and in which each and every individual is again the master of his or her own destiny.
We supportthis Declaration in the certainty that our rights are inalienable and innate and not subject to the whims of government; that the only rights which we will ultimately retain, are those which we are willing to defend; and that rapid, yet peaceful, reform is now America’s only alternative to tyranny and mounting social violence.
To create a new dawn of liberty for America and to secure a rebirth of liberty, justice, peace, and prosperity for all, we mutually pledge each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. We seek and will settle for nothing less than freedom in our time.
Vincent H. Miller (1938-2008) was the founder of the International Society for Individual Liberty.
Jarret B. Wollstein was a co-founder of the original Society for Individual Liberty.
This pamphlet was originally published in May 1992 and revised in January 2000. It is part of ISIL‘s educational pamphlet series. Click here for the full index of pamphlets online.