Government Has No Rights, but only Powers

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

Here are a few radical statements that will shock many people on the left. I know from personal experience that many liberals are appalled by the principles spelled out in the next paragraph. I refuse to be held liable for any apoplexy liberals may experience by reading it.

The government has no rights, but only powers. Those powers are not the property of the government, but of the people. We the people loan power to the government, and we can revoke those powers any time at our sole discretion, without permission from the government. The Bill of Rights is intended to protect the people from the government, not to protect government from the people. The government has no right to privacy. It has no right to conceal its misdeeds, but indeed, it has an affirmative duty to reveal all of its activities to the citizenry. Rights belong only to the people. Those rights are granted to us, not by the government, but only by our Creator. Those in government are not our rulers, but our servants.

Such ideas are anathema to socialists, but they are solidly embedded in the foundations of the Constitution.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution includes the provision that no person “. . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. . .”

This is good and proper. This law restricts government power, and prevents its unjust use against the people. As with so many laws, however, it has been perverted. The rights conferred by the Bill of Rights are conferred not upon the government, but upon individuals, and especially in the context of protecting individuals from the government, not the other way around.

Instead of protecting our rights, the Fifth Amendment, one of the enumerations in the Bill of Rights, is now being used by government as yet another tool to suppress our rights. Here is an example.

Lois Lerner is the IRS administrator who publicly proclaimed her Fifth Amendment right not to testify before Congress, because such testimony might tend to incriminate her—but Lerner is not entitled to conceal her official crimes as an agent of the government. Quite to the contrary, she has an affirmative duty to reveal them in full. Her refusal to do so is a complete reversal of the intent of the Fifth Amendment.

Had Lerner shoplifted from a department store, her Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify would be completely legitimate, because such a crime would, one presumes, not have been part of her official duties in the Internal Revenue Service. Had she shoplifted, she would have been acting as a private citizen, not as an agent of the government.

However, when Lerner used her power as a government agent to deprive American citizens of their First Amendment rights, she was indeed acting as an agent of the government. In doing so, she forfeited any claim to the Fifth Amendment right against testimony, because the government does not have a right to conceal its criminal action.

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service gave bonuses, at taxpayer expense, to employees of the IRS who failed to pay their own taxes. Some of them had even been disciplined for misconduct. How could this happen? How could miscreants and tax cheats who work for the IRS get bonuses?

Part of the answer lies in their employment contract. IRS employees are protected by a contract which forbids the government from using an employee’s misconduct as a basis for withholding bonuses. Let’s repeat that. An IRS employee’s misconduct cannot be used against him in determining whether he gets a performance bonus. This contract was negotiated between the unions, representing the bureaucrats, and the American people, who were represented in those negotiations by—by whom? Who in hell thought he was representing the American people when he agreed that employee misconduct cannot be a basis for denying a bonus payment? Do you believe that that government negotiator had the slightest concern whatsoever for your interests as a taxpayer? Think about that the next time the government takes your money to pay an IRS auditor who himself has not paid his taxes.

Such contracts are fraudulent and collusive. Clearly, the government employees union spends political campaign money to reward government negotiators who betray the trust of the people. Such contracts are therefore illegal, and any fair and just court would invalidate those contracts without delay.

Lois Lerner and the IRS are only the tip of the iceberg of corruption that has thoroughly saturated the government. Recently and infamously, it has been discovered that certain administrators in the Veterans Administration, in order to make themselves eligible for performance bonuses, delayed life-saving care for their patients, resulting in the deaths of several dozen or more of the veterans they were paid to protect.

I am outraged not only at the despicable actions of the administrators who, in effect, murdered our veterans for money—I am outraged by the excuses made for those who supposedly oversee the VA. The question is being asked, did they know that this abuse was going on? That is the wrong (insert curse word here) question. It matters not one whit whether they knew. The correct question is, should they have known? Were they doing their job of oversight? What, precisely, were they doing to seek out, discover, and/or prevent such abuses? My guess is that they were doing nothing. How else could people in the VA dare to have risked being caught with blood on their hands? In an environment where Lois Lerner tramples the Constitution and gets a pension, what fear does any government employee have of being caught? Why don’t these people respect the law? Why don’t they fear being punished for murder?

No doubt, they too, have a contract.

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