Keep Your Hands To Yourself

Keep Your Hands To Yourself

By Cheryl Todd |

How many times have we heard our parents tell us “keep your hands to yourself”? Being one of four siblings, my parents had that phrase on replay—constantly. When we were children, my brothers and I were always trying to boss each other around and get our own way. But, as we grew up, we learned to mind our own business and control our own behavior. We began to realize that we might not LIKE what the other one was doing, but that their behavior was not up to us to control. Each of my brothers and I matured into grown-ups who understand that we are responsible for our own actions and reactions to other people.

The news media as of late has been replete with stories of how some people are “triggered” by words and symbols and even articles of clothing worn by other people. And, it is conceivable that those who are “triggered” are genuinely having an emotional reaction to their surroundings

Humans are built to be relational, and part of relating is that we respond and react to those around us. Put two babies in a room together, if one of them starts crying, the other one will impulsively join in. But, as we mature, we learn that we can and must control our own responses to those around us. We can feel a “triggered” emotion without reacting to it, and certainly not by trying to control the people and things in our landscape to whom we are having an emotional reaction. 

For example, if I were terrified of flying and seeing airplanes flying over my head does that mean that I should try to make airplanes illegal? They make me uncomfortable, people get hurt and injured in airplane accidents—I shouldn’t have to be made uncomfortable by seeing these things flying over my head…right?! Something should be done about these airplanes! Right?! 

Of course not. My fears, my phobias, and my emotional reactions are MINE to deal with. It is MY responsibility to learn how to interact with the rest of the world and control my emotional responses through coping skills. I cannot expect the rest of the world to conform to what makes me feel comfortable. I have to learn to “keep my hands to myself.” 

A more realistic example of how this scenario tends to play out is with firearms and our Second Amendment Constitutional Right to exercise our God-given Right to self-defense. Some people are made uncomfortable by the fact that I own firearms, even though I am a responsibly armed and trained citizen. They cite times when firearms have been improperly used by others to harm and murder our fellow men and women. They feel deeply that guns are bad, ignoring the obvious fact that millions of times each year guns are used to protect and save lives. The truth is that people who don’t “keep their hands to themselves” hurt other people, and guns are merely one of any number of tools used to maim and murder innocents. 

Regardless, there are many who profess that the world would be a better place if everyone would simply listen to their “common sense” ideas of making these tools disappear. However, if those people can take from me my firearms and my right to own those tools, that makes ME feel transgressed and unsafe. Being deprived of my Second Amendment rights makes me deeply uncomfortable. Are my feelings less important than those of other people?

So, where does that leave us? If one person gets their way, the other is left feeling discomfort. What are we to do about that? Our Founding Fathers and Mothers created a solution. In fact, they believed so strongly in the principle of “keeping one’s hands to oneself” that they put everything on the line and fought, bled, starved, and died in order to have the opportunity to write a few documents about this very issue. 

The Declaration of Independence was their instruction to the English Monarchy and Army to keep their hands to themselves. It was a boundary-setting written pronouncement of autonomy. It declared where the English Government ends and where the United States Government begins. The Founders followed that up with a missive called the Constitution of the United States, which set the rules for how our own government would behave. And the ultimate “keep your hands to yourself” document is the Bill of Rights. 

The Bill of Rights tells our own United States Government what it can NOT do in the personal lives and with the personal possessions of We the People—including our “arms” (guns, knives, swords, bows and arrows, etc.) which free citizens have the right to keep and bear, which means to own and carry. And our Founders, realizing how important firearms are to personal safety and security, included the Second Amendment which codified those inherent rights, and added a clause that you will find nowhere else in our Founding Documents. They wrote, “shall not be infringed.” 

It was an emphatic punctuation declaring that no matter what, this right stands unfettered by any other law, decree, or governmental regulation. According to the National Archives website, “[The Bill of Rights] spells out Americans’ rights in relation to their government. It guarantees civil rights and liberties to the individual—like freedom of speech, press, and religion. It sets rules for due process of law and reserves all powers not delegated to the Federal Government to the people or the States.”

Part of being a grown-up is knowing that my rights end where my brothers’ and my neighbors’ begin. Keep your hands to yourself. These are timeless values and, in a way, our Founding Fathers and Mothers are continuing to parent each new generation in exactly that wise admonition nearly 300 years after they secured these rights for their own lives. 

Cheryl Todd has an extensive history of being a Second Amendment Advocate. Along with being a Visiting Fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum, she is the owner of AZFirearms Auctions, Executive Producer & Co-Host of Gun Freedom Radio, the founder of the grassroots movement Polka Dots Are My Camo, and the AZ State Director for the DC Project.

Threats to the Court Are the Real Threat to Democracy

Threats to the Court Are the Real Threat to Democracy

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with the concurrence of much of the Left, believes our democracy is once again under attack, this time from our own “rogue” Supreme Court. MSNBC agreed that “the Supreme Court has gone rogue.” The Congressional Progressive Caucus insists “we must hold these rogue justices to account.”

It goes beyond coordinated hysterical rhetoric. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demanded that Democratic Party leaders share their plans for “solving the problem of the rogue Court.” The New York Times advised “the Constitution provides a number of paths by which Congress can restrain and discipline a rogue Court.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the Supreme Court Review Act to “check the Court’s rogue decisions.”

From the Left’s point-of-view, not only is the Court rogue, but so are the six justices who normally form the majority. According to protesters at a recent anti-Court rally, Roberts is an “impotent fool,” Kavanaugh a “drunken rapist,” and Thomas a “traitor and perv.” “Strong women scare” Alito. Gorsuch “stole his seat.” Barrett is in “an actual cult.”

Scholars like Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky write that none of the justices should be there. Georgia State Law professor Eric Segall argues that the Court’s illegitimate rulings should just be ignored.

But what rulings from this last term were radical, extra-legal interpretations of the Constitution? Here are some of the purportedly rogue rulings:

    • An administrative agency must have congressional authority to make far-reaching decisions.
    • If states subsidize students in private schools, they can’t exclude religious schools.
    • Since the Constitution is silent on abortion regulation, per the 10th Amendment, states retain the authority.
    • The Second Amendment actually prescribes the right to bear arms.

Reasonable people can disagree with these as policy prescriptions. However, the rulings are hardly constitutionally outrageous by any standard. They are not even that politically unpopular, except on the activist Left.

Still, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed, with no substantiation attempted, that overturning Roe v. Wade was an “unconstitutional action.” But most Court critics don’t argue about constitutionality. They simply don’t like the results of the rulings.

Americans have politicized the Court through failure to understand its role and purpose. Commentators commonly characterize justices as liberal or conservative, implying their personal ideologies are the legitimate basis of their judicial opinions. Sometimes they’re even referred to as Democrat or Republican.

Indeed, Barack Obama, himself a former constitutional law professor, wanted his Supreme Court nominees to “understand that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory.” Rather, they should have “empathy…understanding and identifying with peoples’ hopes and struggles.”

But as the late Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out, there are fundamentally two grounds for federal court rulings: the text of the Constitution and laws or…what? Ideological chaos where ultimately the personal opinions of the judges prevail.

Americans not only tolerate this practice, they demand it. Partisans fully expect the Court to protect their ideological interests, to be their backup when the legislative process fails to produce the desired results.

Thus, another critic claims the current Court is deemed to have rogue status because it “acted under conservative control, as if it stands above the constitutional system, unaccountable to anyone other than itself.” But the Court by design is not supposed to be “accountable” to the political process.

Justices don’t face elections precisely so that they can be an independent third branch. They are free to protect minority rights and serve as a check against populist excesses in the democratically elected branches.

In return for their independence, judges bear a solemn responsibility to follow the Constitution. Any other course leads to government by black-robed tyrants not subject to any checks or balances.

In our cancel culture, justices have been seriously threatened with physical harm. Leftist politicians have proposed structural reforms like packing the Court, blowing it up, or ignoring it. But these are dangerous threats to the rule of law.

Those unhappy with the current Court’s decisions should utilize the traditional means available to effect change. Amend the Constitution, change the laws, appoint new judges when the time comes.

An independent judiciary is a hallmark of all successful democracies. Attempts to punish and threaten judges for their decisions is the real threat to our republic.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment May Be Our Only Hope

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment May Be Our Only Hope

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

Over the last few decades, no force on earth has been able to halt the explosive growth of U.S. federal debt.

At the conclusion of WWII, fiscal conservatives were aghast that our national debt had ballooned to $259 billion. By the end of the Vietnam War, it stood at $533 billion and, despite urgent warnings, was over $5.6 trillion by the end of the century. Today it stands at $30 trillion after the Biden administration’s horrific spending spree conducted on the pretext of limiting the fallout from COVID.

The reason is pretty simple. Spending other peoples’ money is politically popular. Taxes are not and budget cutting is risky.

We have developed a political culture in which the reelection of incumbents is the highest of all priorities. It is considered perfectly acceptable to just kick the can down the road and let future generations sort out the consequences of our selfishness.

So, for example, when Bush 43 attempted to propose desperately needed reforms for Medicare and Medicaid, he was mercilessly demagogued for “pushing granny over the cliff.” His Republican allies deserted him, and the effort collapsed. Nobody has tried any such thing since, although debt reduction is mathematically impossible without entitlement reform.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where this is going. Interest rates are rising while serious geopolitical threats are forming. We’re backing ourselves into a position of severe internal and external weakness at just the wrong time.

Yet the political class remains unmoved. Some pay lip service to fiscal discipline, but the spending goes on unabated. Student loans, accommodations for illegal immigrants, and missiles for Ukraine on the condition that no Russians will be harmed by their use are all embraced as if unlimited funds are available.

Fortunately, our forefathers anticipated that the government they created would attempt to exceed its limited constitutional powers. They gave the states a powerful tool to defend themselves—the right to amend the Constitution on their own.

Article V of the Constitution mandates that Congress “shall” call a constitutional convention when requested to do so by 2/3 of the states and that any amendments proposed, when ratified by 3/4 of the states, become “Part of this Constitution.”

The founders would be disappointed to know that the states have never exercised this extraordinary privilege. Thomas Jefferson, knowing how these things go, thought a convention of the states would be needed every generation or so to reign in federal government encroachments.

Instead, the states have stood meekly by as the federal government has far surpassed them in power and prestige to the point where calling a convention of the states is seen as an act of rebellion against authority.

But nothing else has worked to restrain federal spending. Millions of dollars have been spent to elect self-described fiscal conservatives, yet it’s beyond obvious that Congress will never reform itself.

Of course, the convention-of-the-states idea has its enemies. Opposition from the spenders on the Left is understandable because they don’t want to end their gravy train. But it is the alliance between the Left and conservative stalwarts like the Eagle Forum and John Birch Society which have effectively stalled progress.

Their arguments are inspired by fear. Their principal objection is the perceived threat of a “runaway convention,” the fear that in a constitutional convention, there would be nothing to stop special interest groups from pushing their agendas from banning abortion to banning guns.

Hogwash. Even if the state legislatures fail to limit the authority of Convention delegates, 38 states must ratify any proposed amendments. That historically has been a very strong protection.

Right-wing opposition seems mostly concerned that the convention could inflict lasting damage to the sanctity of our Constitution. The opposite is the truth.

Nothing could honor and strengthen the Constitution more than using its own provisions to enable us to address our most urgent modern threat. The other option is the Left’s practice of declaring a “living” Constitution that says whatever judges say it does.

It’s time for us to flex our democratic muscles and fulfill our destiny as free, optimistic, and proud Americans. Our republic may be in the balance.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

Rare First Edition U.S. Constitution Sells For Record Price After Hedge Fund CEO Outbids Cryptocurrency Group

Rare First Edition U.S. Constitution Sells For Record Price After Hedge Fund CEO Outbids Cryptocurrency Group

By Terri Jo Neff |

One of the last 500 first-edition copies of the U.S. Constitution printed in 1787 was sold at auction Thursday night in New York, shattering estimates put forth by experts who had placed the historic document’s value at $20 million.

The “Goldman’s Constitution” as the copy is known is one of only 13 originals believed to still exist. It was purchased by real estate developer S. Howard Goldman in 1988 for $165,000 and most recently belonged to the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, which owns dozens of rare historical documents from America’s Colonial and Revolutionary eras.  

Earlier this month it was announced that ConstitutionDAO, a Ethereum-based cryptocurrency group, would be bidding for the document. Leading up to the auction, the group publicized its desire to find a partner ensure the Constitution would be displayed in a way that made it accessible to the public.

Last week ConstitutionDAO claimed it had already raised $32 million via crowdfunding, which many experts believed would ensure the group was top bidder. But that honor went instead to Ken Griffin, the billionaire CEO of Chicago-based Citadel LLC, a hedge fund. His bid was $41 million ($43.2 million with fees).

The entire bidding took less than 15 minutes. Not only was Griffin’s bid the highest ever for a copy of the U.S. Constitution, but Sotheby’s says it is the top price ever paid for a printed historical document.

Griffin, 53, announced that his copy of the U.S. Constitution will be loaned to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The museum’s permanent collection features American art from the Colonial era to the contemporary period.

There are some questions as to why the cryptocurrency group was unable to exceed Griffin’s bid, given that some insiders reported ConstitutionDAO, which stands for Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, had in fact raised $47 million by the start of bidding.  Refunds will be issued to the nearly 17,500 individual donors, according to the group, which took looked on the positive side of its endeavor.  

“This is the largest crowdfund for a physical object that we are aware of—crypto or fiat,” according to the group’s website. “We are so incredibly grateful to have done this together with you all and are still in shock that we even got this far.”

The group also noted Thursday’s auction was the first time Sotheby’s worked with a DAO community.

“We have educated an entire cohort of people around the world – from museum curators and art directors to our grandmothers asking us what eth is when they read about us in the news – about the possibilities of web3,” the statement reads. “And, on the flip side, many of you have learned about what it means to steward an asset like the U.S. constitution across museums and collections, or watched an art auction for the first time.”