"That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."
Article 1 Section 2.
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A lot of double negatives there. Does the "common benefit" equate to the good and happiness of mankind ? Stalin and Mao butchered and maimed tens of millions to prove it. Is there a word in any language that would describe servants hired to protect individual right at natural law? If there is, I haven't discovered it yet. The term "government" brings to mind an intangible body of force that is superior to the specie man in all ways. Once that intangible god (government) no longer recognizes the single tree (more than a mere glancing - hmmm) but only the forest, there remains only arbitrary power and oppression, absurd slaves and all else that is destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I think the previous commentator, Mike Novak, must clearly be a statist due to his spurious claim that 'government' is a superior force "in all ways".

    Poppycock and hokum! The state exists for the well-being of free citizen, not the other way around.

    Remember before "statism" and general collectivist social policies became humanity's systemic problem, there was a social ideology called INDIVIDUALISM.

    Individualism is the heart of this Tennessee Constitution quote. Without individualism, you only have the will and whim of others in positions of authority within the structure of the STATE dictating life to its citizenry.
     -- Pyra Gorgon, Bolivar     
    Pyra, of Bolivar TN, you must be a first timer to this blog. Your comment made me smile great big and out loud. You evidently did not read my whole comment or at least did not understand it (I overtly equated Stalin and Mao's statism to murder and mayhem); AND, you obviously haven't read my posts over the long history I've been commenting here. While living in TN many years ago, it was my pleasure to be acquainted with some of the finest individuals and lovers of freedom in the nation. My acquaintance with F. Tupper Saussy was also very meaningful (another noble and honorable Tennessean - Miracle on Main Street, a great little read) It was my experience that, a vast majority of Tennesseans were still statiists, willingly submitting to government as a superior force, in all ways (genuflecting to compelled compliance, victimless crimes, license, etc., etc., etc.) Pyra, you should drop in often, giving more of your insights. I am going to try and make it to the Freedom Fest In Las Vegas July 9 - hope to see some of the bloggers comments afterwards.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The individualist is that single tree. There were but a few that began this journey to form a New Nation under God. Never from a neutral naturalistic view point which creates a scarcity mindset, self destructive.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
    I think Mike got a little hung up on the first clause -- the meat is in the second clause, "the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd..." Indeed!

    Whether it be the right to bear arms, to speak in dissent, to disobey unlawful government dictates, to report government abuses, to refuse to pay unlawful taxes, in fact any manner of conscientious dissent, citizens have the right and responsibility to resist unconstitutional acts.

    The general purpose of a Constitution is for the People to delegate SPECIFIC powers to a servant government (which are nothing but other people). Government power is not supposed to be unlimited. In fact it is STRICTLY limited to what the People have delegated to them, and the People cannot grant powers to the government that the private citizens themselves do not already have the right to do.

    Because, historically, governments tend to overreach their mandate, Constitutions further clarify what their government can NOT do. This phrase is simply stating that the idea that the People are not to resist the arbitrary dictates of government employees is "absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind." Quite frankly, the US government, and unfortunately a great deal of the People, have forgotten this and thus are constantly reminding us to 'obey the law or else' while cloaking their arbitrary dictates in 'regulations' and so-called 'laws.' Most of what the federal government does today is NOT authorized in the Constitution at all.

    In collusion with powerful business associations like the American Bar Association and the Federal Reserve, the 'general welfare' and 'interstate commerce' clauses have been stretched beyond their intended limits to justify federal regulations and massive debt-spending without limit. The US government is now as tyrannical as King George before the American Revolution -- read the Declaration of Independence and the justifications for the separation from the Crown -- are any of the reasons then different than what Washington DC is doing now?! ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer, you are absolutely right (-; and I'm still smiling ;-). The meat is in the the second clause as you stated. Other than that, you said very well. I guess it just pushes one of my buttons a little when statists keep enforcing the false concept "That government being instituted for the common benefit" and then try and hide it with a following truth. Does the lie / half truth make the whole thing a lie ? That is why I didn't rate it.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Mike, but government IS instituted for the common benefit -- the distinction is WHO is instituting the government! I agree, we have been getting reamed for so long now 'for the common good' your reasonable skepticism is understandable. Perhaps the quote would be better understood in greater context. But it is refreshing to see in a Constitution a reference to the 'absurdity' of nonresistance to arbitrary power.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer, government(s) may have been instituted for the "common benefit" BUT, de jure representative republics were uniquely formed as an individual(s)'s expression at law. Neither "common" or "benefit" are concepts that associate to a de jure representative republic at law. The "common benefit" (or good), is at best, a side effect of an an individual(s - united)'s expression at law. As a foundational body politic, that government based on the common benefit is a polar opposite and extremely antagonistic to the foundation of the individual(s)'s expression at law. Those 2 forms of application can not exist in the same place at the same time. Further, certain words establish a mind set of its following patrons or individuals. By way of example: Union and United. Union brings to the mind's eye a single entity - all supporting actors having lost their individual Identity. United implies individuals together. Thus, the de jure United States of America - no benefit implied, common or otherwise. The use of union, as in "a more perfect union", was to explain a loss of unity by a certain greater application of oligarchical oversight (still not an evolution to tyranny) Not until the rights of the individual's State's united expression was challenged by Northern aggression did "union" take on despotic over-lording (accepted by a once united We The People). The "Common Benefit" is a close derivative and sub-component of the despotic Union (Union of Socialist Amerika - all for the common benefit).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Got it, Mike. Thanks. You've made a clear distinction. How would you then re-phrase the first clause?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    ? ? ? maybe ? ? ? - Representatives being instituted of, by and for sovereign individual(s), act in behalf of inalienable rights (individually and in united concert), . . .
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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