Home Contact Register Subscribe to the Beacon Login

Thursday, September 03, 2015


The upcoming Presidential election in the fall of 2016 could be the most pivotal election in U.S. History. This could even be true in North Dakota.

As the people of ND prepare to elect a new governor, 2016 will be the first time since 2000 there is an open election without an incumbent seeking the office of Governor.

Who will replace Dalrymple?

Who will follow Obama?

Does it really make any difference?

What is the story with Donald Trump?

What about Bernie Sanders an avowed socialist with large crowds and Americans accepting his form of socialism?

Isn't Socialism about equality?

As American citizens we have the privilege and responsibility to participate in the process of making these decisions. The choices we make in the next election (even not voting is a choice) will ultimately outline the future of this country and the landscape we will leave for our children and grandchildren.

Are you catching the drift? I'm trying to make you feel an OBLIGATION to get involved in the process. Living in a free country does not absolve anyone from responsibility or duty. In a word, freedom isn't free. It requires and it costs--time, resources and the energy required for engagement.

In the anticipation of this occasion, I would like to offer some suggestions for voters out there to consider and provide some fodder for discussion and even debate.

At the outset, I'd like to share some thoughts from a great American, Ezra Taft Benson, Former Secretary of Agriculture from the 1950's. He had something to say about a very fundamental--maybe even preliminary--aspect of this discussion.
I have included his thoughts on the Role of Government. Many decisions made by voters and legislators alike would be very different if the role of government as defined in the Constitution was understood, used as a guideline, and allowed to act as a safeguard against the overreach of government in the lives of of the people it was designed to serve and protect.

Excerpts from the article by The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson, Former Secretary of Agriculture.

Right and wrong as moral principles do not change. They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complicated.

There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires our solution.
Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just.

These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.
"(I) believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society."

"(I) believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life..."

"(I) believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, which protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience." (D&C 134: 1-2,5)


It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. The great Thomas Jefferson asked: "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)

Starting at the foundation of the pyramid, let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know as human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government.

I, for one, shall never accept that premise. As the French political economist, Frederick Bastiat,
phrased it so succinctly, "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (The Law, p.6)

The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form? A hypothetical question? Yes, indeed! But, it is a question which is vital to an understanding of the principles which underlie the proper function of government.

This means, then, that the proper function of government is limited only to those spheres of activity within which the individual citizen has the right to act. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by man. No man possesses such power to delegate. The creature cannot exceed the creator.

In general terms, therefore, the proper role of government includes such defensive activities, as maintaining national military and local police forces for protection against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of liberty at the hands of either foreign despots or domestic criminals.

As John Locke explained many years ago:
"The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, 'a liberty for every man to do what he lists.' For who could be free, when every other man's humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own." (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 57: P>P>N>S., p.101)

Another standard I use in deterring what law is good and what is bad is the Constitution of the United States. I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey.

As George Washington stated so clearly in his immortal Farewell Address:

"It is a firm principle that the smallest or lowest level that can possibly undertake the task is the one that should do so. First, the community or city. If the city cannot handle it, then the county. Next, the state; and only if no smaller unit can possible do the job should the federal government be considered. It is well to remember that the states of this republic created the Federal Government. The Federal Government did not create the states."

I still believe in the idea - - fragile and fleeting as it may appear at times in the crossroads and cross hairs of history - - of a government of, by and for the people. If we as the people who possess and are possessed by this place are human, we have the faculties to make the choices necessary to keep the enemies of liberty in check.

We must restore the status of patriot to the place it deserves in our mores. It is a virtue to love this country and all that she has given to each one of us. Opportunity. Freedom. Dignity and Choices, No guarantees but a benevolent and generous spirit. No special status but the rights of the human race to be free from fear, oppression and tyranny.

Never forget that as an American, you are not entitled to a particular standard of living just because you live here, but because you live here you have the freedom to pursue a path unrestricted except by the law in concert with desire, ability and a willingness to work.
I encourage you to get out the owner's manual of this magnificent experiment which is only just approaching its 250th year of existence and is unparalleled in the history of mankind on earth.

I don't want to end my life as the last of a dying breed - - I would much rather be a part of selecting leaders to carry the dream to another generation.

As you select your candidate to support...

Consider what you believe and what is the best thing for North Dakota and America!

God Bless America!

Gary Emineth

Click here to email your elected representatives.


No Comments Yet

Post a Comment


Upload Image    

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?