Sunday, April 21, 2019

2019 NFL Mock Draft

1. Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

2. San Francisco 49ers - Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

3. New York Jets - Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio St.

4. Oakland Raiders - Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Montez Sweat, EDGE, Miss. St.

6. New York Giants - Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

8. Detroit Lions - Devin White, LB, LSU

9. Buffalo Bills - Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

10. Denver Broncos - Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

12. Green Bay Packers - T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

13. Miami Dolphins - Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

14. Atlanta Falcons - Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

15. Washington Redskins - Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida St.

16. Carolina Panthers - Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

17. New York Giants (via Cleveland) - D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

18. Minnesota Vikings - Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama

19. Tennessee Titans - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

21. Seattle Seahawks - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

22. Baltimore Ravens - A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

23. Houston Texans - Andre Dillard, OT, Washington St.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

25. Philadelphia Eagles - Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

26. Indianapolis Colts - Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas) - Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

28. Los Angeles Chargers - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

29. Kansas City Chiefs - Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans) - Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio St.

31. Los Angeles Rams - Jeffery Simmons, DL, Miss. St.

32. New England Patriots - Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Human Nature is to Waste Energy by Living in the Past

If we could harness all the energy people use living in the past, we would solve our national energy problems. It is a shame, but we love to live in the past, and this is all wasted energy. We are all guilty of it to some degree. However, it has become the signature personality trait of many people who lack strategic vision and forward thinking processes. I witness this type of behavior in everyday life. Unfortunately, most good thoughts of the past are usually overwhelmed by bad thoughts so we dwell on failures or thoughts of revenge and getting even.

This negative thought process is what leads to rumors. Ninety-nine percent of all rumors are false stories put in motion by angry people with a vendetta who want to get even with an adversary. In other words, people have an “ax to grind” and this is just wasted energy on something we cannot change the outcome – it is in the past. This does, however, demonstrate that our problem solving skills are non-existent. In fact, it is much more likely that people would blame and point the finger at others then to offer solutions and move forward. This is common in the workplace, and in everyday life.

This behavior is what leads to bullying and today it is much easier to bully using technology and social media. People can use these communication mediums to post anonymous messages. What’s worse, the bullying messages are not even unique – they have been passed down from one bully to the next.

These types of personalities will typically draw conclusions by hearing only one side of the story. And what’s more disturbing, we are more concerned about our neighbors or coworkers lives then we are with our own or our families. It is a sad existence and I feel sorry for these folks. They have nothing better to do with their own lives then to try to ruin someone else’s. And to help their effort bullies are good at brainwashing others. Their posse of brownnosing minions carryout the bullying attacks.

Of course, these same bullies can become hypocrites when they need something. They can turn on the charm to manipulate the people they have been bullying. After all, people usually only contact another human being when they need something. It is no longer human nature to contact families, relatives, friends, or coworkers to see how they are doing.

What is the result of this type of behavior? Unfortunately, the solution is for people to stick to themselves and avoid others. This means not doing anything more than necessary – like volunteering. And it is volunteering that makes this country great. Volunteers put themselves at risk for unwarranted attacks by selfish self-centered narcissists whose only purpose on this earth is to be carbon emitting oxygen thieves. Yes, climate change just may be manmade in the form of useless drivel and wasted energy from people around the globe.

Imagine how much better this world would be if people minded their own business and used their energy and intellect to solve problems without blaming others. Instead, we are a populous of dopes that cannot even come up with their own bullying quotes. Our offspring are learning trivial behavior from their parents that will spiral out of control over the years. It is a sad state of affairs, and we are all guilty of this to some degree.

It is our responsibility to work hard throughout life to better ourselves. I do not see this. It seems most adults are still stuck in our childhood brains – kids will throw their best friend under a bus to avoid punishment. We are still more concerned about suing our friends and neighbors over trivial grievances than simply saying “hi” or waving hello to them when we see them.

We are training our brains to be wired wrong – by being narcissistic self-centered rumor oriented problem creating followers who want to bring people down instead of leaders who want inspire and lift people up. Sure, many people with flawed characters are in leadership positions and they think they are good leaders. But this is far from the truth because they got into their roles by being deceitful lying backstabbing folks unwilling to be accountable or take responsibility for their actions. Instead they are willing to do what is best for themselves and not what is best for the company or others. Brain storming sessions quickly become blame storming sessions and these manipulative leaders will resort to any strategy to protect their shady images including bullying and other passive aggressive behavior.

So it is imperative that humans work hard to be better people by living in the moment to solve future problems. If our personas do not change for the better, our negativity will be the demise of the human race.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Contracts and Natural Law Fundamental Rights (Part V)

Freedom of Contract

As far back as 1795 in American history, federal courts established contract rights as natural rights necessary to protect property and other individual rights. In Vanhorn’s Lessee v. Dorrance, judge William Patterson (a founding father) declared a Pennsylvania statute to be null and void for violating the contract clause of the Constitution. Patterson did admit that citizens must sacrifice property rights for public welfare (with just compensation), but only under “grave emergencies”.

The right or freedom of contract established by the Court in Lochner v. New York (1905) was powerful (actually freedom of contract was elevated eight years earlier in Allgeyer v. Louisiana, but this case does not receive anywhere near the same attention of Lochner). In Allgeyer, the Court’s justice Rufus Peckham held in a unanimous decision: “The 'liberty' mentioned in [the Fourteenth] amendment means not only the right of the citizen to be free from the mere physical restraint of his person, as by incarceration, but the term is deemed to embrace the right of the citizen to be free in the enjoyment of all his faculties, to be free to use them in all lawful ways, to live and work where he will, to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling, to pursue any livelihood or avocation, and for that purpose to enter into all contracts which may be proper, necessary, and essential to his carrying out to a successful conclusion the purposes above mentioned.”

What made Lochner (and Allgeyer) unusual was the fact the Supreme Court elevated the freedom of contract as a right even though it did not exist in the Constitution. While Lochner v. New York only protected economic contracts, it is apparent that freedom of contract could be used to protect rights that exist in the Bill of Rights such as property rights (buying and selling property is protected by contracts) and religious rights (contract with pastor, priest, deacon, and even the bible or God). That is why conversations between a spouse, doctor, or religious leader are considered privileged, because they are protected by a contract. Freedom of contract could also protect other rights not included in the Constitution such as worker rights (implied contract between employer and employee) and civil rights (implied contract of decency, tolerance, and respect to avoid violating the rights of others – the golden rule). Therefore, the right or freedom of contract is a powerful tool to protect both individual rights within or outside the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court (also referred to as “the Court” throughout this book) rescinded this right under FDR’s progressive New Deal Court in cases like Nebbia v. New York (1934), Parrish v. West Coast Hotel (1937), and Wickard v. Filburn (1941). While the right to contract was killed by the Court, the Court continued to elevate other rights not found in the Constitution including privacy, marriage, sex, abortion, and self-defense to name a few.

There is a zero-percent chance the Court will restore the right of contract. Why? Both the Right and Left abhor the Lochner v. New York decision. It is estimated that fewer than 5% of legal scholars believe that Lochner was a good a decision and the remaining 95% are ecstatic it was overturned. Consider the fact that 90% of legal scholars believe that the Slaughter House cases (1873) were decided improperly. Yet, the Court has refused to overturn that case after 140 years. If the Court is that reluctant to overturn a case that most agree was wrongfully decided, then there is no chance the Court will reinstate Lochner and the freedom of contract. There is, however, a strange relationship between Lochner and the Slaughter House cases. The dissent argument in the Slaughter House cases was not much different than the majority opinion in Lochner. Thus, it begs to reason why one opinion is revered while the other is demonized? Nevertheless, this conflict may be precisely the reason the Slaughter House cases have never been overruled.

So why write a book about the freedom of contract if it has no chance of being restored? To illustrate how the Court has veered from the true textual meaning of the Constitution diminishing its power to protect the rights of all Americans. Had the Court remained committed to the textual meaning of the Constitution and the right of contract, it would have proved to be a useful tool to solve both conservative and liberal problems without the Court doing whatever it takes to obtain a desired result including using discrimination, controversy, and legislative activism.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Contracts and Natural Law Fundamental Rights (Part IV)

United States citizens tried to inject social compact theories into welfare debates. The land reformers of the Nineteenth Century tried to argue that land belonged to everyone equally. Their theory suggests there should be no private property, that land should not be bought, sold, gifted, or willed. Moreover, they argued that the living, not the dead should control the land. Land reformers would argue that the sea, light, and air are all publicly owned. All that being said, none of the great theorists of social compact theory agree that all land should be publicly owned and redistributed to only living citizens. In their defense, Land reformers like to point to Locke’s statement: “Labor makes for the greatest part of the value of things.” However, this is not condoning welfare or land redistribution. It is condoning capitalism and those that work will have the best opportunities to reap the benefits of their labor and to purchase land. In fact, one of the biggest arguments made by land reformers is that it will reduce the size and power of government. Of course, we have learned that none of this true in modern America. Redistribution of wealth and welfare has grown the government in astronomical proportions over the past 60-years. Land reformers best argument from social compact theory comes from the Pufendorf point of view where citizens natural law rights are not absolute and therefore property rights can be abridged for any reason the government sees fit. However, this is the antithesis of the social contract theory America was founded on. Even if rights are abridged there must be a compelling reason and the government must use the least evasive method to achieve its objective. The Homestead Act of 1862 proved that land equality did not work. People who received free land got greedy and willed it to their children. This ended the land reformers bid for perpetual land equality. This is precisely why socialism does not work: everyone is partial to their own needs and greed. Besides, land reformers arguments that “land cannot be bought or sold” conflicts with modern liberalism principles that that rights such as healthcare can be bought and sold.

Modern progressives and liberals have moved away from the Declaration of Independence refuting natural law fundamental rights and social contract theory. However, using social contract theory arguments in favor of illegal immigration, lenient immigration laws, and gay rights would make more sense than the hollow arguments put forward merely to win political points (and votes). There are several reasons for liberals abandoning social contract theory. In particular, many progressive or liberal policies do not fit into social contract theory and the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence. For instance, capitalism or economic freedom and private property rights are all supported by social contract theory. Also, it is important to understand that original progressives were racists. They believed in racial purity and therefore were proponents of anti-immigration, segregation, and legislation against women’s rights. But it was not just progressive and liberals dissing the Declaration of Independence. Far right conservatives did the same thing in the 1970s in response to the civil rights movement started in the 1960s. The bottom line is that the Declaration of Independence is long forgotten in modern society, taking a back seat to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States (discussed later in this text).

The turning point in the movement against social contract theory started after the Civil War. After a brutal war, the people feared Lockean and Declaration of Independence principles of revolution and secession. The move from popular sovereignty to government sovereignty took many forms: majority rule, emergencies, social justice, presumption and other methods discussed later in this text. America began to look more like Alexander Hamilton’s view of big government over Thomas Jefferson’s political principles. A change in focus from political to social issues was also fundamental in mitigating social contract theory. There was a progressive ignorance indicating “creative political intelligence” was needed to “tame” social contract theory. However, progressives fail to see how social contract theory protects social rights such as friendships and community relationships. Progressives also incorrectly hypothesize “society makes individuals, individuals do not make society.” Obviously both statements are true, not just one.

Freedom of contract to protect natural rights was also hypothesized as a method to replace social contract theory: “There was no lack of postbellum lawyers and judges who deemed freedom of contract under the law a far safer bet than a social contract above the law.” But this text believes there is no reason that freedom of contract and social contract theory cannot coexist since both protect natural rights and popular sovereignty. And freedom of contract may not support overthrowing the government but it supports the formation of political assemblies and protests (social contracts) to keep government in check.

Is social contract theory dead in modern America? Yes, and the reasons are outlined below:

• A “state of nature” died a long time ago. A state of nature implies little governance so citizens can live free with nature. But as populations and society grew with technological advances much of the United States is no longer in a state of nature but is now a land of laws, institutions, and traditions.

• Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, did his best to destroy the “higher law principles” of social contract theory. Holmes said “The jurists who believe in natural law seem to me to be in that na├»ve state of mind that accepts what has been familiar and accepted by them and their neighbors as something that must be accepted by all men everywhere.” Holmes and other progressives such as Walter Lippmann moved society away from higher law principles to one of majority rule. Lippmann said “Politics is not concerned with prescribing the ultimate quality of life.” Moreover, Lippmann suggested “that the public philosophy shall be believed to be right.” However, all that being said, following natural law principles does not violate the right of others, but majority rule in United States history has been used consistently to violate the rights of our neighbors (more on this later in the text).

• The question of who consents to the social contract is open for debate. And is consent absolutely necessary for social compact theory? There is no question that the founders and their generation consented to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They signed the documents and even held state ratifying conventions for the Constitution. But, no one has officially signed on to these documents in over 240 years. .

Do United States citizens and aliens consent to government? The answer is both yes and no. There must be both political authority and political obligation for consent. Political authority is when “the leaders get the right to govern only those who agree to give them this right in a social contract”. Political obligation is when the “people are obliged to obey the state’s orders only if they agreed to do so in a social contract”. Those who do not consent have more rights than those who do consent. So, who consents to social contracts? Those who take an oath to uphold the Constitution; immigrants (illegal or legal) who move to the United States; those of us who inherit property; people who violate the rights of others (criminals); those of us who take more out of system (welfare and public benefits) than put into it (taxes); even those individuals or companies who benefited from temporary welfare benefits or bailouts have consented unless they paid back their grants with interest; individuals who fail to pay their taxes on time or cheat on their taxes; certain individuals and companies who work for government contracts; and military personnel as well as many public jobs. From this it is easy to surmise that a majority of Americans do consent to government and the social contract theory. Non-consenting individuals’ natural law fundamental rights should be honored as outlined in those critical documents at the founding: The Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Constitution. Consenting individuals’ rights might be abridged. For instance, military personnel lose rights when they tried in military tribunals; Criminals are confined and even when they are free they face parole guidelines such as being forced to wear a tracking device; Welfare recipients, if the government wanted, can be drug or alcohol tested and compelled to work jobs they do not want for their benefits; Public officials can be held to higher criminal standards such as treason; Layers, who take an oath to uphold the Constitution, can be disbarred for life from practicing law if they violate their duties whereas, most individuals who are fired from a job for violating ethical standards can simply get a similar job at another company. One thing is certain, consenting or not, all citizens should be held to the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Put another way, citizens and aliens consent only to Constitutional laws but no one consents to unconstitutional laws.

It is the view of this text that most Americans do provide consent and those who have not consented can be held to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution so long as their rights are not abridged for any reason. So, consent has sort of survived the test of time.

• Human or natural rights are the only aspect of social contract theory that has sort of survived the test of time. However, the “rights revolution” starting in the 1970s has increased the number of rights, but in doing so, it has also diluted our rights. Animals, nature, and abortion rights do more to mitigate our natural fundamental rights because it suggests elective surgery, a tree, and even drinking coffee are on par with true natural law fundamental rights such as obtaining knowledge and the sanctity of life. Instead, animals and nature can be protected through “human” contract rights with nature. In fact, social contract theory and a state of nature can be formulated to protect our environment. Social contract theory and higher law principles can also be used to protect nature as God intended. To make matters worse, many rights given to women, gays, and minorities in the form of diversity and affirmative action provide some groups of people preferential treatment. One should remember President Andrew Jackson’s campaign slogan: “Equal rights to all; special privileges to no one”. President’s Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover would do a huge disservice to rights by suggesting “human rights over property rights”. After all, what good are an individual’s rights if the home they live in is confiscated by the government without just compensation. Finally, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) campaigned on social contract theory in 1932. However, in reality, his social contract theory was, in essence, social justice or welfare doing another huge disservice to the doctrine. But, in FDR’s defense, he was not the genius the Left made him out to be because he merely copied what France had already accomplished with regards to social rights.

Can social contract theory be resurrected? Probably not, although many have tried. Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” was at best a pseudo reenactment of the social contract theory. This text focuses on what reforms are needed to protect our true natural law fundamental rights to stop the dilution of rights (freedom of contract). This text is not trying to accomplish this goal by reinstating social contract theory but it will try to achieve this task through other Constitutional methods. Besides, it is not acceptable to pick and choose which parts of social contract theory are acceptable and which ones are not. Case in point, by doing so, the South found ways to justify slavery. However, the South could not justify slavery if they followed the entirety of Lockean and Jeffersonian social contract theory. For this reason, this text would like to see the full reinstatement of the Jeffersonian Declaration of Independence preamble for United States social contract theory. But that may not be possible based on the damage it has already undertaken.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Contracts and Natural Law Fundamental Rights (Part III)

Americans should never forget the preamble of the Declaration of Independence has been critical for providing civil rights to minority classes of citizens in United States history where the Constitution failed: ending slavery, woman’s suffrage, and other civil rights fights. For instance, the Missouri Compromise used the Declaration of Independence social contract theory to prevent slavery in certain territories; the women’s movement started in 1848 with the Declaration of Independence; the labor movement in the 1800s found both political and social freedoms in the Declaration of Independence; Abraham Lincoln moved the nation towards war using the principles found in the Declaration of Independence; communist organizer, Eugene Debs, discovered how the Declaration of Independence could support his labor movement; three time Democratic Presidential Candidate, William Jennings Bryant, used the Declaration of Independence to point out American hypocrisies dealing with persons of newly acquired territories in the Spanish-American War (Imperialism: social contract does not support conquering and governing those who do not consent); and Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech is based on those social contract theories found in the Declaration of Independence.

All that being said, early in American history and up to the present time, the Declaration of Independence has been attacked by many saying it has no relevance to the Constitution and it does not apply to everyone equally. This surely explains the Southern philosophy to defend slavery and even the Northern philosophy to deny free-Negroes and women equal rights. In their famous debates Senator Stephen Douglas would say Abraham Lincoln was no different than King George III. Douglas would elaborate by suggesting just as King George III passed laws regulating property (taxes) without consent, Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves would be no different. However, most people, like Douglas, would confuse the social contract theory of popular sovereignty with majority rule democracy: they are not the same because majority rule democracy places sovereignty in the government even without consent of the people. Put another way, Douglas believes it is the will of majorities to decide government policy based on political sentiment at the time and not that the natural law fundamental rights of every person are the same. Of course, Southerners had no issue arguing in favor of Lockean social contract theory and the Declaration of Independence when they held they had a right to revolution and to secede from the Union.

Social contract theory has taken many forms in world history and it is important to show its progression in the United States history. In particular, to show how America has veered from the social contract theory found in the Declaration of Independence. Interestingly, early American history saw both the Patriots and Loyalists favor the social contract theory put forth by Samuel Pufendorf a century earlier. Pufendorf theorized that due to the social nature of man, they create societies. This, according to Pufendorf, is the “first contract” to establish a State where people create a government and therefore, consent to be ruled. Pufendorf differs from Locke because his theory consists of a double contract. Pufendorf’s second contract is “submission”. In other words, citizens must conform, even to a rogue government, because natural rights will be sacrificed regardless as to whether or not the government is legitimate. Since citizens provide the government with consent, Pufendorf rules out that governments can be coercive. Pufendorf’s theory of social contract can be summarized in one word: Peaceful. There is no contract to overthrow a government since peace must be maintained at all costs. One could see how this fits the Loyalists view to defend England against the Colonies. It also fit the early movement of American Patriots because their motto was to protest English rule, but to do so peacefully and to follow the law. As Americans pushed for freedom via revolution, American Patriots adapted John Locke’s views. The fight over the Constitution between federalist and anti-federalist also became a battle over Locke and Pufendorf respectively. Federalist and popular sovereignty won with the Ninth Amendment while the anti-federalist won major concessions with the other Bill of Right amendments securing a second contract between citizens and government.

Social contract theory was utilized extensively by both the North and South leading up to the Civil War. Northern abolitionists adhered to John Locke’s theories of popular sovereignty, social contract, and natural rights (all men are created equal). Northerners also adhered to John Locke’s revolutionary principles threatening to secede from the South on many occasions. Legal scholars such as John Marshall, Joseph Story, and Daniel Webster would maintain that it was the “people’s constitution”. Dorr’s Rebellion (1841), in Rhode Island, was a perfect example of people using social contract theory. Citizens rebelled because they wanted to update the State constitution to be more representative of the people.

On the other hand, the situation in the South was complex when it came to social contract theory. The South would use John Locke’s revolutionary principles to argue their right to secede from the Union. When it was convenient, Southerners would use social compact theories and principles put forth by Pufendorf to defend slavery. Since, according to Pufendorf, there must be submission of the people to maintain order even in the face of a rogue government, it is easy to see how individuals or citizens could become slaves of the State. In this sense, Pufendorf would argue that rights became duties to maintain the peace, even if the duty was to support slavery. Pufendorf would rationalize slavery by suggesting that masters owned only the slaves labor, not the entire man. And when it was convenient, the South would use social contract theories put forth by Hugo Grotius to defend States rights and federalism. During the expansion West, Grotius’s social contract and federalism reinforced each other. The South maintained the Union was a mere alliance of States, thus social contract theory only applied to the States. Did “We the People” of the Constitution suggest we the people of the Union (North), or we the people of the States (South)? This text believes that social contract theory applied to both the Union and States. Finally, the South rejected all social contracts when faced with more consistent and logical arguments by Northerners. For this reason, many Southerners embraced Edmund Burke since he did not believe in natural law fundamental rights or social contract theory. Since the Civil War, only one famous American truly embraced Burke, and that was Woodrow Wilson. Wilson would use Burke’s dismissal of natural law to defend his racism similarly to how the South would justify slavery. After all, with no social contract to ensure equality, then it is acceptable to discriminate against certain groups of people. Wilson would eventually drop his support of Burke as he moved to progressivism. However, Wilson’s progressivism was perverted because he would protect natural law fundamental rights of white males while neglecting the rights of everyone else.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Contracts and Natural Law Fundamental Rights (Part II)

Free will choices are first order decisions that are made prior to any moral choice. At times free will choices will conflict and leads humans to their second order decision-making process. When this happens, the morality, decision-making process takes priority over deciding tasks based on moral rules such as the “golden rule” (treat others as you expect to be treated) or the Pauline Principle (evil cannot be done even if good may come from the action). The first principle of morality guides citizens to make decisions which strive for the fulfillment of humanity. Free will decisions are not natural (or controlled by nature), but the natural law fundamental rights and moral decisions are controlled by nature or some higher being (God).

Society creates what is known as positive law which is derived from natural law. Positive law consists of community laws and statutes which guide citizens to make correct moral decisions such as laws against crime like murder or theft. It is also the belief of this text that judges can enforce natural law when legislative laws diverge from natural law even though many scholars believe that judges have no Constitutional authority to do so. This is false. Judicial review and the original intent of the Ninth Amendment, the privileges and immunities clause, and due process clause of the Constitution are the reasons why this characterization is false (discussed in detail later).

Natural law is an excellent guide to protect individual rights. However, natural law theory gets very complex and asserts things such as sodomy, pre-marital sex, adultery, fornication, masturbation, contraception, sex toys, pornography, addictive behavior, gambling, and homosexuality are morally wrong. Natural law explains there is a difference between certain types of pleasure. For example, sitting in a rocking chair would be considered an innocent pleasure whereas viewing pornography would be an evil pleasure. But this is a fine line: for example, where do you draw the line between art and pornography? Where do you draw the line between art and obscenity? Which historical novels do we ban for political correctness in the name of protecting youths from obscene language? The problem these questions creates is obvious: It means legislative and judicial opinions and biases will develop balancing tests to define what is pornography and what is not. Where natural law theorists stray away from common sense is when they treat individual action or behavior that does not violate the rights others as violations of natural law principles. Action or behavior that does not affect others (non-consenting persons) should be acceptable since it does not violate the common good. Even if doing drugs or masturbation are considered morally unacceptable actions, but should these actions be considered a crime or as violating natural law if the behavior does not violate the rights of others? Strict natural law theorists would say yes. But this creates conservative legislators and judges whose laws end up violating individual rights. For instance, Supreme Court morality precedent insists growing medical marijuana is not allowed to relieve chronic pain (even with a doctor’s prescription) does not violate anyone’s rights. Nor does anyone see how the right to work is severed by laws that make selling sex toys or pornography illegal. When this happens, judges and legislators are taking morality too far. After all, if it were a crime to limit all types of individual behavior based on natural law morality, a large percentage of the populous would be in prison.

And let’s not forget the hypothesis of this writing: to elevate freedom of contract as one of our natural law fundamental rights. In order to accomplish this task, it is imperative to understand how Supreme Court elevates fundamental rights which are not enumerated in the Constitution. There are three methods: The Ninth Amendment, the privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Supreme Court doctrine known as substantive due process. Each method will be evaluated in detail.

Social Contract Theory

This text will adhere to the social contract theory written in the preamble of Declaration of Independence (the text is not trying to reinstate the doctrine, but only adhere to it). United States social contract theory is a contract between the government and the people and it has three main parts. First, there is a contract to form a government to protect the higher law natural rights of consenting citizens. Secondly, if the government fails to protect the rights of its citizens then it is the duty of citizens to overthrow the government. Thirdly, it provides less governance is best to maintain a desired state of nature.

The Declaration of Independence says: “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.” This social contract theory written by Thomas Jefferson closely follows the theories set forth by John Locke. In Locke’s view no government or law was above the sovereignty of people (popular sovereignty). Locke was a master in defining the “principles” of government. Thus, the American Revolution became a movement over principles rather than over the form of government. Many liberal reformers like to downplay the social contract aspect found within the preamble of Declaration of Independence by focusing on the other parts of document or by incorrectly comparing it to the English Declaration of Rights which provided sovereignty to government (Parliament). The Declaration provides a perpetual contract where the people can change government whenever it is not properly protecting the rights of citizens. However, Jefferson writes “government long established should not be changed for light and transient causes”. In other words, there must be a legitimate reason for changing government, it cannot be merely for political and ideological difference. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 basically endorses the Declaration of Independence’s use of Lockean social contract theory giving credence to the document.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Contracts and Natural Law Fundamental Rights (Part I)

Contracts

A contract is defined as “a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law”. Legally, a contract may also be “unspoken” or implied. Contracts are a big part of our everyday life. For instance, most business contracts are conducted with a hand shake. This is a “promissory obligation” contract that is binding and can be enforced by the law. At a minimum, breach of a promissory obligation would yield a lack of trust in that person or party by the public. This is why Congress has such low approval numbers (they do not keep promises). Individuals enter into dozens of contracts every day. Every money transaction that takes place is a contract. Thus, most people have contracts to cover phone, energy, home, water, TV, internet, food and other expenses such as insurance, car, services, and healthcare to name a few. The Constitution contains a contracts clause which protects lenders from borrowers defaulting on their loans. A person has two options when it comes to contracts. First, they can refuse to enter into a contract agreement or secondly, they can accept a contract agreement.

There are three legal reasons a court may void a contract agreement (outside coercion and exploitation): Public policy reasons, unconscionability, and bargaining power inequity. But courts have used these reasons to void perfectly good contracts, where there has been no coercion or exploitation, by the parties partaking in the contract. Take, for example, bargaining power inequity: Parties in exact equality have no reason to enter into a contract. For instance, there must be some inequity for Party A to enter into a contract with Party B. In other words, Party A wants more of what Party B has available for sale. For this reason, many bargaining power inequity rulings are bogus. Public policy reasons lead judges to input personal biases and opinions into decisions. For example, in a Massachusetts surrogacy case (R.R. v. M.H, 1998) the court sided with the surrogate mother who breached her contract by keeping the baby. The judge ruled it is not normal public policy to sell babies. This is obviously the judge’s opinion; if it is normal public policy to abort a baby, then why can’t people sell a baby, especially to prevent an abortion? Judges also use unconscionability to input biases and personal opinions. Consider the 1965 Washington DC case Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Company. In this case, the court ruled in favor of a person who breached their contract by defaulting on their furniture payments. The court ruled that the furniture store could not repossess the furniture per the contract. Put another way, the furniture store was out the remaining amount due in the contract in addition to the furniture. In this decision, the court had empathy toward the plaintiff because she was poor. But the court’s decision would negatively affect hundreds of poor people living in the same neighborhood. In response to the decision, the furniture store reduced credit levels and raised prices to cover lawsuits since they could no longer repossess items for breach of contract. In another example, California courts have barred companies like Circuit City from using arbitration as a way to solve employee disputes. Instead, courts want companies to face lengthy and more expensive class action suits instead of settling disputes via arbitration. These actions force companies to cut employees, reduce wages, and or pass any increased legal costs onto the consumer.

But contracts are much more than the lender and borrower relationships. Implied or written contracts protect other types of relationships such as employer and employee, student and educator, and marriage between two persons. Implied contracts also protect our friendships. After all, true friends should be responsible to look out for the welfare of their comrades. Family is the core of society, but friendships (relationships: friends, workmates, and political acquaintances) are the glue that holds communities since relationship contracts work for the common good (general welfare) of the society.

It can be argued that contracts include the unspoken or implied relationships between one’s self and every other person in the world. After all, we cannot violate the rights of another person even if they are a stranger. Hence, a contract is implied that all humans will treat other humans with dignity, decency, tolerance, and respect to avoid violating the rights of others. A contract with humanity is not much different than the Golden Rule where individuals should treat others how they expect to be treated. Furthermore, John Quincy Adams felt society as whole is a contract “a partnership not only between who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are not born.” In other words, the living must respect the dead and at the same time pave the way for future generations. For example, Americans should never forget the millions that have died fighting for their freedom. For all these reasons, contracts are powerful and control just about every action an individual may partake.

Most definitions of contract say it is an agreement between two or more parties, but individuals make personal contracts in the form of schedules, goals, and missions that they want to achieve. It is a natural law principle that humans have the right to pursue and develop a life plan. These personal contracts are important for several reasons. First, they define our personality because these types of agreements are the easiest to break (like a New Year resolution). Those that achieve in life will more than likely attain most of their individual contract goals. On the other hand, those that fail in life will ultimately quit on most of their individual contract goals. For this reason, it can be argued that biggest disability facing Americans is that of quitting on our goals or personal contracts. Secondly, it is important to remember that all individuals have the “right to pursue happiness” but nobody is “guaranteed happiness”. The only way to achieve happiness is to set difficult goals and to attain them. Even this may not guarantee happiness but failing to meet goals will almost certainly lead to a miserable or handicapped existence. Consider how many Americans (environmentalists) believe that man has an implied contract with nature or the planet Earth. These individuals want humans to leave this planet a better place than when we entered into it. This would fit the social contract put forth by John Quincy Adams in the previous paragraph. This may also be an example of natural law and God’s contract with humans and vice versa. If this is true, then persons following this “implied” contract must set lofty goals in personal contracts to achieve the outlook they want for the planet. After all, anything worth achieving in life will never come easy.

Natural Law Fundamental Rights

It is also important to understand natural law fundamental rights. Natural law fundamental rights are higher level rights sometimes referred to as simply natural law. Natural law rights “must be recognized as self-evident to all.” A natural law right is one that would be right, good, and responsible (as opposed to wrong, bad, and irresponsible) for personal fulfillment and the general good of humanity (common good). Fundamental rights and natural law rights are usually identified as individual human rights, but in actuality they are collective rights because everyone has the same rights. Natural law rights are rights that all people are born with and they cannot be taken away by others or by any government. A few of these fundamental rights are outlined in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Fundamental natural law rights are contracts between a person and a higher being (it can be God or whomever you believe gave you the natural freedoms you enjoy). Government can protect these rights, but they cannot generate a fundamental right because fundamental rights existed before the creation of government and laws. But what happens when our fundamental rights are being violated by others or the government? It is then the job of the courts and our judicial system to protect our fundamental rights, even those that are not enumerated in the Constitution. But the Constitution does not protect individuals, whose rights are being violated, from wrongly decided Supreme Court cases. For this reason, this book will extensively evaluate the role of the Supreme Court in defining and defending enumerated and unenumerated natural law fundamental rights to protect God’s natural law contracts with each person in society.

Briefly, to better explain natural law, first there are several fundamental rights which guide our free will choices. Those natural law fundamental rights include the right to work, play, friendships, marriage, health, life, property, contracts, knowledge, enjoyment of nature and arts, self-preservation, religion, family, free speech, the right to vote, travel, and justice to name a few. Our free will decisions ideally strive for personal fulfillment for the common good. Free will decisions or choices should be made without the interference of emotions and feelings but instead be based on sound reason. According to natural right scholar John Finnis “Natural Law assumes that men had certain duties toward one another, as social beings, and had certain rights that men must respect.” Moreover, natural law principles conclude there should be “no arbitrary preferences among persons” to eliminate hypocrisy, biases, opinions, and selfishness. Furthermore, “There is no human right that will be overridden if feelings (whether generous or unselfish, or mean and self-centered) are allowed to govern choice ….”