On Your Personal Liberties

Below is a post I made on June 21, 2010, while running as an independent for US Congress.

As your federal representative, I will make no pretensions to usurp your right to self-ownership and tell you how to run your life. Those decisions are not mine to make – nor should they be. One does not step into a voting booth in November and magically cede away their individual sovereignty.

Likewise, one cannot step into the voting booth and justly vote to strip away the individual sovereignty of others to their life, their liberty, and their property. My job function is to defend the Constitution, and protect the people from the tyranny of the federal government.

The United States of America was founded under the concept of sovereign states. Beyond the powers or prohibitions expressly listed in the Constitution, all other powers were left to the states or to the people per the 10th Amendment.

I fully recognize the divide-and-conquer tactics used by the two-headed, one-party establishment on the controversial social issues listed below. Please understand that I will always respect your opinion and always defend your ability to voice your opinion and petition YOUR government for redress of grievances with the novel-yet-simple “Our Open Office” concept.

State sovereignty will result in legislation that is more customized to the desires of Pennsylvanians. The more local each sensitive issue becomes, the more control the people have over their representatives, and the more freedom we will all have from one-size-fits-all federal control.

Abortion

There is no issue that is quite as sensitive as abortion. As a male, this issue will never directly affect me, and therefore I have been especially attentive to listening to perspectives of fellow residents in the district.

“Pro-life” advocates take the position that a fetus is a living person and therefore killing a fetus prior to birth is a criminal act. If seen as a criminal act, then under the US Constitution the federal government has no role or power to play, as this matter of criminal law is reserved to the individual states. This moral stance is all too often lightly dismissed by the “pro-choice” camp. Per Roe v. Wade, states cannot prohibit abortions until the fetus becomes “viable,” or can potentially live outside the mother’s womb at approximately 24 to 28 weeks of gestation. As federal Congressman:

  • I will not support the use of federal tax dollars to fund abortions. Everyone must realize that forcing taxpayers to contribute towards acts they find as morally reprehensible criminal acts is utterly immoral. I wish to be clear here and state that even spending a single dollar on abortions in an otherwise 99% beneficial and constitutional bill still creates the grounds to vote against the entire bill. This stance is wholly compatible and consistent with the campaign’s health care plank.
  • Women have the unquestionable right to choose to birth a child. Childbirth should be a proud and happy event in a woman’s life. However, it is also a decision that requires love, maturity, and considerable financial resources. Those who are most adamant about preventing abortions should also be the most generous in providing charity, financial aid, and adoption resources for mothers who choose to carry pregnancies to term.
  • I have previously made a campaign promise to only accept the median household income for the district for my salary and will donate the remainder to local non-profit hospitals. Since my salary is taxpayer-funded, I will specify these donations cannot be used for abortions.

The “pro-choice” camp believes a woman has a right to the self-ownership of her own body and can decide whether to carry a fetus to birth. The “pro-life” camp all too often rejects this argument without examining the reasoning behind it.

If a pregnancy ever threatens a mother’s life, shouldn’t the mother have the ability to choose to abort the child to save her own life? It should be plain and apparent that as the life-giver she should.

Is it not abhorrent that in cases of violent rape or incest a woman could be forced to bear a child and also provide nurturing and her time and financial resources for many years? In the case of an unwanted pregnancy or a pregnancy that becomes unwanted the true choice for a woman is NOT simply abortion versus no abortion. The choice is either abortion or compulsory childbearing. The decision between abortion or motherhood is an enormous responsibility, and women only choose abortions when the alternative is impossible to bear.

We should also consider the consequences of past times when abortions were banned by the state. Even when the state outlawed abortions, this did NOT stop abortions from occurring. In past times, women were forced to pay enormous amounts of money on the black market, falsely claim they were violently raped, endure the indignities of backstreet abortions with their increased risks of infection, death, genital damage, and permanent mutilation. I do not support regressing to these oppressive times.

As your federal Congressman, I will defend a woman’s right to choose under the current federal law. Women cannot legitimately be forced into carrying and having a baby against their will.

Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms

The Second Amendment is NOT about hunting or even self-defense. The Second Amendment protects your natural right to freedom from tyranny by the use of force. As the colonists learned from the British in 1776, it matters not if the tyrants come from our own government.

At no point would I vote for limits of any sort on the right to bear arms as a federal congressman, which is a clear difference from my Republocrat opponents. There is simply no authorization in the Constitution that delegates this power from the people and the states to United States Congress. States and localities can decide details for themselves based on state constitutions and local preferences. This critical right is described in more detail here.

Gay Marriage or Civil Unions

One of my principles is that individuals have the right to live their lives however they wish, as long as they do not interfere with the equal rights of others. Therefore, individuals can mutually associate as they wish whether they are a man and a woman, two women, or two men makes no difference to me.

Certainly society should not erect barriers between two individuals that love each other. I have no issues with gay or lesbian couples associating. Conversely, as individuals are free to NOT associate with others as well. By the same logic, I have no issues with religious groups banning gay or lesbian marriages as these are groups that individuals freely choose to associate themselves with. Gay or lesbian couples are free to associate themselves into their own groups as well.

As a federal Congressman, there is no power granted to Congress to decide upon this matter, so per the 10th Amendment I would defer the issue to the states. I would vote against any federal legislation to ban same-sex marriages as the Republocrat incumbent, Charlie Dent, attempted to do in HJ RES 88.

The federal government currently discriminates in favor of married couples or those in civil unions by offering them tax breaks. While I am against the entire Marxian concept of taxing individuals’ incomes as immoral and unnecessary, if a state deems a gay or lesbian couple to be married or in a civil union, these couples should have claim to the same tax breaks. The purpose of government is to protect the liberty of the individual NOT to grant special privileges to special groups.

The “War” on Drugs

In my position as a federal Congressman, I would act to phase out federal involvement in the “war” on drugs. While I would not specifically act to legalize illegal drugs, I would ask to move this issue to the States per the Constitution. Just like the banning of alcohol required a constitutional amendment in 1919, so does any banning of other drugs. We should keep in mind that just like the “War” on Drugs Prohibition was an abject failure. Prohibition resulted in mobsters like Al Capone, high levels of violence from organized criminal groups, and rampant corruption in local police forces. Sound familiar?

On an international level, Presidents of Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia all plead that the “war” on drugs has been a total disaster for their countries. In Afghanistan, the US occupation has created unprecedented record levels of opium production, especially as the Taliban had banned opium prior to the invasion.

I take the position that the entire federal sections of the Controlled Substances Act should be transitioned back to state control. This could be accomplished by simply copying the act onto the state books and thereafter let the States alter them if they wish. Obviously, decisions on the state level would be closer to the people, allowing each area to customize their laws and increasing overall satisfaction.

A limited and decentralized government with inherent checks and balances results in more self-rule by local communities, and hence providing local diversity and overall greater satisfaction for individuals. Individuals can always vote with their feet, and move to areas not affected by laws they strongly disagree with.

In particular, the federal banning of industrial hemp, which is not a drug that can be smoked, is ridiculous. Hemp is a cash crop that could be used as a source as food, fiber, biofuel, fabric, or building material. Currently, America imports hemp from Canada, France, and China. Allowing farmers to grow this crop would be the first big step back towards maturity on this topic plus industrial hemp’s cross-pollination would decrease the potency of all the illegally-grown marijuana.

However, I also want to stress that this by no means should be taken to mean that I personally endorse the use of any drugs, simply that it is not a proper constitutional responsibility of the federal government. Personally I have made a campaign pledge to not drink alcohol, smoke, or use drugs and will continue this policy when elected. I believe constituents should never have to worry about their representative’s mind being altered by drugs of any type, regardless as to whether they are socially-acceptable drugs like alcohol or not.

Illegal Immigration

There are no indications that the government will act to secure the borders. It failed to secure the borders after the 9/11 attacks, and to believe it will do so now is naive.

It is a constitutional duty of the federal government to defend the borders. This is best done by using the military to protect the borders with customs officials at land, sea, or air access points. I believe that it is the duty of the Department of Defense to protect our borders, not the Department of Homeland Security. I support state sovereignty and the right of the states to defend their own borders when they so choose.

Legal immigration should be moderated at the discretion of the States per the Constitution. Illegal immigration is, of course, illegal.

From Article 1, Section 8, Congress is given the power “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” I believe the most effective containment actions to take are to remove the congressional subsidies for illegal immigrants. For example, “anchor babies” create an incentive for foreign nationals to deliver their babies on American soil, as they currently become American citizens. I disagree with this policy. Congress allows tax dollars to be spent on benefits for illegal immigrants. This is a slap in the face of both taxpayers and those who immigrated legally.

Closing Remarks

Regardless of whether or not I agree or disagree with your personal views, I assure you I very much respect your freedom to say and believe them. It is citizens waking up to evils of the centralized government in Washington that gives me hope as I continue to spread the message of liberty, peace, and prosperity.

Remember regardless of whatever charades Republocrat career politicians play to fritter away your personal freedoms, this much will always hold true. YOU OWN YOUR SELF. Just as true is that you do not own others.

In liberty, Jake Towne

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