CIVIL DEFENSE PERSPECTIVES
November 1996 (vol. 13, #1) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1996 Physicians for Civil Defense
THE MAGNA CARTA
At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Oh hear the reeds at Runnymede:
``You mustn't sell, delay, deny,
A freeman's right or liberty,
It wakes the stubborn Englishry,
We saw 'em roused at Runnymede.
``When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid line,
The first attack on Right Divine
The curt, uncompromising `Sign!'
That settled John at Runnymede.
``At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Your rights were won at Runnymede!
No freeman shall be fined or bound,
Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
Except by lawful judgment found
And passed upon him by his peers!
Forget not, after all these years,
The charter signed at Runnymede.''
MAGNA CHARTA, June 15, 1215
JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to ... all his officials and loyal subjects, greetings....
To all free men of our kingdom we have...granted, for us and our heirs forever, all the liberties written out below....
For a trivial offense, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a husbandman the implements of his husbandry, if they fall on the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighborhood....
Every county, hundred, wapentake, and tithing shall remain at its ancient rent, without increase, except the royal demesne manors....
Neither we nor any royal official will take wood for our castle, or for any other purpose, without the consent of the owner....
In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it....
No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.
To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice....
We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well....
All forests that have been created in our reign shall at once be disafforested. [A forest, in British law, was a woodland, usually the property of the king, preserved for game. To disafforest meant to reduce the legal status of a forest to that of ordinary land.] River-banks that have been enclosed in our reign shall be treated similarly.
To any man whom we have deprived or dispossessed of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, without the lawful judgment of his equals, we will at once restore these....
All fines that have been given to us unjustly and against the law of the land, and all fines that we have exacted unjustly, shall be entirely remitted or the matter decided by a majority judgment of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace....
Since we have granted all these things for God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the discord that has arisen between us and our barons,...we give and grant the barons the following security: The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties granted and confirmed by this charter. If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offense is made know to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us ... to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we ... make no redress within forty days,... the twenty-five barons may distrain upon us and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon....Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power.
We will not seek to procure from anyone, either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which any parts of these concessions or liberties might be revoked or diminished. Should such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at no time make use of it....
Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit....Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede,...on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign.
Would Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Carol Browner, Bruce Babbitt, and other officials of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, or the United Nations, in 1996, sign this charter? What would be the implications for asset forfeiture, civil monetary penalties, wetlands regulations, tax increases, the Utah ``monument'' and other takings (including regulatory takings)?
On Producing Jobs
Once upon a time there were, in China, two great cities: Chin and Chan. They were connected by a magnificent canal. The emperor judged it desirable to have enormous blocks of stone thrown into it, in order to put it out of service.
Seeing this, Kuang, his chief mandarin, said to him:
``Son of Heaven, you are making a mistake.''
To which the emperor replied: ``Kuang, you are talking like a fool.''
After three moons had passed, the celestial emperor sent for the mandarin and said to him: ``Kuang, look yonder.''
And Kuang saw a multitude of men at work. Some were excavating, others were raising embankments, still others were leveling the ground, and others laying paving stones; and the mandarin thought to himself, they are building a highway.
After three more moons had passed, the highway was completed. A host of pedestrians, carts, and palanquins were coming and going; and innumerable Chinese, overcome with fatigue, were carrying heavy burdens from Chan to Chin and from Chin to Chan. And Kuang said to himself: ``It was the destruction of the canal that provided jobs for these poor people.'' But it never occurred to him that their labor had been diverted from other employments.
And three more moons passed by, and Kuang saw that the inns were always full of travelers, and grouped around them were the shops of butchers and bakers to feed the hungry travelers .... And Kuang said, ``I should never have thought that the destruction of a canal could create jobs for so many people''; for it never occurred to him that these jobs had not been created but displaced, and that the travelers used to eat just as well when they went along the canal as they did after they were forced to use the highway.
Then the emperor died. His successor sent for Kuang and said: ``Have the canal opened up.''
And Kuang said to the new emperor: ``Son of Heaven, you are making a mistake.''
The emperor replied: ``Kuang, you are talking like a fool.''
But Kuang persisted: ``Sire, what do you have in mind?''
``I have in mind,'' the emperor said, ``facilitating the movement of men and things between Chin and Chan by making transportation less expensive, so that the people may have tea and clothing at lower cost.''
Kuang was well prepared. He prostrated himself nine times and began to recite from the Moniteur industriel, [about how the wealth of a nation consists in the amount of employment it provides its labor force].
But the emperor said: ``I do not need your newspapers to know that to create obstacles is to divert and displace labor.... Go out there and clear the obstacles from the canal. After that, we'll reform the tariff.''
And Kuang went off, tearing at his beard and lamenting: ``O Fô! O Pê! O Lî! and all other monosyllabic, circumflected gods of Cathay, take pity on your people; for there has come to us an emperor of the English school, and I can see that before long we shall be in want of everything, since we shall no longer need to do anything.''
from Economic Sophisms by Frederic Bastiat, c. 1845
reprinted by the Foundation for Economic Education
Robinson Self-Teaching Home School Curriculum, v. 2.0,
by permission from FEE
Thomas Hobbes believed that society would benefit most if the land were owned by the sovereign, who had the authority to distribute the land to those best suited to use it for society's benefit, and ``no individual can set private judgment of right and wrong in opposition to the sovereign's commands.''
John Locke believed that society would benefit most if the land were owned by its first possessor, who had the authority to use the land to benefit himself. The Lockean concept was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. Courts now implement the Hobbesian view. The so-called Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act give the federal government vastly expanded authority to control private land use. Additionally, ``Heritage'' areas springing up all over the country restrict almost every conceivable land use; and once a use is defined as ``harm,'' no compensation is given the owner. Worse, in 47 Biosphere Reserves in America land use is restricted by international agreement.
A high priority for the Clinton regime is the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was forestalled in 1994 by opposition from the Farm Bureau, the American Sheep Industry Association, and several organizations in the wise-use movement, according to a briefing by the Union of Concerned Scientists. This Convention, signed by Clinton in 1993, requires the establishment of ``protected areas,'' and a ``global biodiversity assessment.'' The ``ideal system'' for the ``protected areas'' is said to be The Wildlands Project, which calls for converting at least 50% of the area of North America into wilderness (eco× logic, Sept/Oct 1996, PO Box 191, Hollow Rock, TN 38342, (901)986-0099).
``Wilderness means:...vast landscapes without roads, dams, motorized vehicles, power lines, overflights, or other artifacts of civilization'' stated David Foreman. And ``does all the foregoing mean that Wild Earth and The Wildlands Project advocate the end of Industrial Civilization? Most assuredly,'' stated John Davis of The Wildlands Project (The DeWeese Report, July, 1996).
One question under consideration by the Convention is who owns ``genetic resources,'' and what ownership and access rights should be afforded to indigenous peoples, farmers, and local communities'' (UCS, SSI Info Update: Int'l Agenda for Biodiversity, Part 1, 11/14/96).
Undoubtedly, these initiatives would create numerous jobs.
Background documents prepared for the Conference of the Parties-3 on implementing biodiversity can be accessed at http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/biodiv/cop3/news.html.
General information on biodiversity and ``sustainable'' agriculture are at the UCS web site: http://www.ucsusa.org.
The Ministry of Truth?
The ``record retention policy'' of the California EPA is: ``Please dispose of all documents.. [electronic mail] messages and other communications prepared during the course of policy formulation which contain other policy proposals not adopted or reflected in the final decision.''
Free reporting on environmental issues is discouraged in many ways: ``green-listing,'' loss of tenure, exclusions, and even loss of data in mysterious fires. (John Baden, at http:// www.free-eco.org/free/ST96/Press.ST1996.html).