"Liberty is not to be enjoyed, indeed it cannot exist, without the habits of just subordination; it consists, not so much in removing all restraint from the orderly, as in imposing it on the violent."
Fisher Ames
(1758-1808), American statesman, orator and political writer
Essay on Equality, December 15, 1801
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Mike, Norwalk      
Considering he was a federalist ( Suit ) apposed to the democratic Republican party. He sided with the British in the war of 1812, his statement here, condescending concerning Liberty ! He was just a big money lawyer, not a man of the soil.
 -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
    Editor, can you remove my 4 stars rating. After reading the quote again / and awake I have a different take.

     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The foundation of liberty is innate in the being man, acting at will without infringing on another's right. Liberty naturally expresses self - which may or may not form habits. Liberty is not justly subordinate to anything. Liberty is not about removing restraint from the orderly or restraining the violent (a perception of justice, not law, order or liberty)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I think Fischer Ames refers to a republican form of government. Perhaps the quote in context would be better. Indeed, it begs the question, what does a society based upon the inalienable rights of humankind do with the violent and criminal? Whenever people 'take the law into their own hands', due process must be observed in accordance with republican principles.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Mike, I am not sure I follow you, who then restrains the criminal, and if he be restrained, is that not taking his liberties away?
     -- Warrdoc, Elk Grove,     
    Warrdoc, at natural law, law enforcement is an oxymoron. No one can enforce gravity, physics, fiscal law, murder, theft, etc. All such exists at a point of realization. Your question references criminal action (restraint or more) All criminal activity falls within a jurisdiction of justice. Agents of justice may act in a pre-set ordering of justice (by way of example: 'rules of criminal procedure') Again, than can be, by definition, no law enforcement, there can only be tyranny enforcement. By way of example: compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (like the 2nd plank of the communist manifesto) and denial of individual sovereign inalienable rights are all violations of the being, man. Such can be forced but, only by despotic usurpation and tyranny. Is taking away or inhibiting the free exercise of liberty a part of, or does it harmonize with justice? That is the real question. The closer man sets his administrations to harmonizing with justice, liberty and law will be realized.

    Since before the foundation of the U.S., until a couple of decades or so before the war between the States, there were no policing bodies (out side the locally elected sheriff). We The People considered policing bodies a standing army to enforce a foreign despot's tyranny. That has been proved out. Policing departments, by supreme court edict, are not responsible to We The People but rather, responsible only to the aloof government and its properties. That is one reason policing departments and the patrons are not adequately dealt with when they kill or injure the innocent.

    I hope that is at least a little helpful. I can explain further.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    The inalienable right to defend oneself is the basis of common law. The natural-born right to associate for mutual benefit and protection is what forms families and communities. A 'crime' is defined as an intentional, malicious act that violates the life, liberty, or lawful property of another. Accidents that may violate the rights of another are not considered crimes, but each are responsible for their own actions -- amends may be due.

    The purpose of setting up a common law court is to provide a means of redress for making a complaint -- otherwise disputes may otherwise only be determined by who is the most powerful (might making right). It should be noted that whomever may occupy a government office has no more power or authority than any of the people whom they represent/serve. Government has no power to deprive anyone of their rights or property without just cause. Additionally, the common citizen may perform the duty of a police officer -- and is 100% liable for making a wrongful arrest, just like an official police officer. The point to understand is that the American common man is 'king of his own castle' with no man as his subjects, and no man as his lord. He is responsible, honorable, respectful -- he is what Mike refers to as the 'noble sovereign.' ;-) The due process of common law prescribes the process for reporting a criminal act, providing enough evidence to justify arresting the accused, bringing the accused to answer for the charges, allowing the accused to defend himself and to be judged by a jury of his peers in which there must be a unanimous guilty verdict before administering any fines or punishment. No matter what we think we may know, the defendant is to be considered innocent until a jury has determined otherwise. Often today, the interpretation of the law assumes a subservient populace that may be arrested simply for 'not obeying a lawful order' from a police officer without any warrant or due process. What many have forgotten is that while we have put in place offices and bureaus for our mutual protection, we as individuals have not given up our rights in the process. The president has NO authority to command me nor do I have a duty to obey -- unless I have joined the military, and even then I have the right to refuse if it would cause me to become an enemy of the Constitution to which I have sworn to protect.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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