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The Ninth Amendment: Employ It, – or Destroy It.

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On 17 September 1787 thirty-nine delegates from twelve states signed the newly drafted Constitution of the United States, and it took effect after approval by nine of them. It has been reported that as Benjamin Franklin was exiting Independence Hall he said, "Everything appears to promise that our Constitution will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." His jot of concern was echoed by several signers who were uneasy with the document's lack of explicit guarantee of certain basic human rights. Insistence on the latter led shortly thereafter to the first ten amendments that became the Bill of Rights.

Like all products born of compromise with regard to profound and highly contentious sociopolitical issues, the Constitution was and still is seriously flawed. Indeed, when studying it after he emigrated to the United States, the preeminent mathematician, Kury Goedel, was astonished to learn that the Constitution could easily foster a dictatorship. Friends wisely advised him to refrain from asserting this openly. What concerns me are obvious flaws in the Bill of Rights that can and do lead to disastrous interpretations and shameful judicial decisions such as Dred Scott (1857), Plessy (1896), and Gong Lim (1927) by an often biased and pusillanimous United States Supreme Court.

A strong hint of the veracity of Goedel's assertion ensues from a dispassionately objective assessment of life in America over the past 217 years, and especially of its present status. The blameworthy Constitutional defects are subtle and serious. It is implied that rights enshrined in the Bill are created and benevolently bestowed by some sort of higher authority such as a concocted federal government or its Congress. This is evident in phrases like "...to be prescribed by law,..." (Third Amendment); "...without due process of law,...(Fifth Amendment); and "according to the rules of the common law." (Seventh Amendment). These wordings denote statutory enablement of the exercise of specific personal behavior, enablement gratuitously called rights ostensibly created and enforced by a man-made extrinsic agency. Their validity is questionable and their existence precarious in accordance to the prevailing whim of the enablement's source that operates and controls the Constitution's amendment and enforcement.

The dictionary definition of a right is "...power, privilege, etc., that belongs to a person by law, nature, or tradition." The degree of the genuineness of a right is directly proportional to the magnitude of the consistency, stability, and permanence of its source. It is obvious that tradition and law are examples of the vagarious extrinsic agencies cited above.

In contrast, nature is a purely intrinsic enabler. A natural human right is truly genuine, by virtue of being innate, permanent, and unalterable. One might say that it is a vital component of human physiology. It can never be created or abolished by fiat of any kind. Only exercise of it can be allowed or prevented by the same artificial and arbitrary extrinsic agencies that define the Bill's current quasi-rights. The latter have been and continue to be the cause of often bitter controversy and demeaning oppression. Much if not all of such tribulation probably could have been averted if responsible authorities had not ignored the single Amendment that can be the deep wellspring of a multitude of genuinely impregnable natural rights.

Such is the enormous potential power in the Ninth Amendment. Most likely having been aware of and concerned by the fact that not all the foreseeable rights were included in the adopted amendments, some of the signers of the Constitution suggested, and James Madison insisted, that a sort of catch-all Ninth Amendment be included for any future contingency. Fortunately its terse wording is devoid of any stipulation that would mandate the involvement of an enfeebling extrinsic enabling agency: The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." It is implied that the retention is absolute, not conditional, and is comparable, if not identical, to the inherence of natural rights. This paves the way for the forthright documentation of many hitherto neglected unenumerated natural rights absolutely immune to the effects of any extrinsic entity. They are inborn and always inherent in everybody until biological death.

Sadly, the invaluable Ninth Amendment has in effect been forgotten. In over two centuries of its existence the Ninth is the only amendment that has never been the basis of any United States Supreme Court decision. Only rarely has it been cited in briefs and arguments, and it is not difficult to guess why. After all, only genuine natural rights proclaimed through the Ninth Amendment can frustrate and foil sinister machinations that would subvert, obfuscate, or diminish the impact, range, or purpose of the more vulnerable artificial rights described above.

It defies logic and common sense to deny the existence of natural rights that are not enumerated in the Bill of Rights and that can be procli9amed on the basis of the Ninth Amendment. In essence that Amendment alone renders all the other Amendments in the Bill superfluous. The Ninth eradicates the need for cannibalizing the others used in the involuted fabrication of "rights" under the broad rubric of due process. To my knowledge an unenumerated right has never been proclaimed officially. Doubtlessly what sustains the inertia is the fear of opening the flood gates for a torrent of natural rights that might be inimical and even lethal to the tenets and dicta of powerful and otherwise invincible controlling societal institutions and sects. Of course, fear is not a rational or justifiable reason to quash the open proclamation of any natural right retained by the people.

Therefore, I now audaciously promulgate some of the many natural rights retained by all human beings, arbitrarily enumerated below:

1) To do or not to do and to say or not to say anything, anywhere, at any time, so long as nobody else and/or his or her property is threatened or harmed.

2) To choose with whom to associate or deal, and with whom to shun.

3) To possess and/or to carry on my person any chemical, drug, device, animal, tract, or weapon.

4) To refuse cooperation with and/or participation in any coercive endeavor, including a military draft.

5) To choose where, when, and how to live and to die.

6) To express openly anywhere, at any time, and by any means one's opinion of anyone or anything.

7) To destroy any flag, symbol, or icon.

8) To eschew formal public or religious education for one's children.

9) To drive any vehicle without using a belt restraint or helmet.

10) To choose to contract for paid sexual intercourse.

11) To choose to do anything that may affect one's body internally and/or externally.

12) To advocate and/or participate in the nonviolent overthrow of any government, institution, or organized sect or religions.

13) To choose whom one will life with, love, and/or marry.

14) To choose to assist anyone who requests aid in exercising any or all of the above enumerated natural rights.

Only the full exploitation of the Ninth Amendment can assure absolute autonomy and unfettered self-determination for every individual. These precious natural rights will loosen or prevent a state's dictatorial control over one's life and body; will negate the need for a Bill of Rights; will mollify periodic fits of vindictive jurisprudence; and will quell the unnecessary explosion of sometimes nonsensical legislation at all levels of society.

Too idealistic and radical? It may seem so only because of lifelong inculcation of laudatory propaganda with regard to what in reality are quasi- or pseudo rights. That's why a sudden dose of the genuine thing might at first be a bit of a shock. But there is little doubt that it will be easy to get used to in the long run.

Still, some may argue, there's the onus of human nature that tends to corrupt. After all, the practical value of any right, natural or quasi, depends upon the character and integrity of the individuals who exercise it and of those entrusted with monitoring the quality of the exercising. We must persevere with confidence that the admonitory qualification in the first right enumerated above will suffice to keep the anticipated corruption at least in check.

One thing is sure. The promising Ninth Amendment has been "on the books" for over 200 years, demeaned, marginalized, ignored and forgotten. Perhaps it was a mistake, because in all that time it has not resulted in a single hitherto undiscovered right, no matter how inauspicious. So our responsible authorities must be convinced that there cannot possibly be any unenumerated rights. Then why do they let the essentially dead Amendment clutter the hallowed Bill of Rights?

Why not be honest with themselves and the Constitution by admitting the Madison was wrong?

They should do what is right: either resuscitate the moribund Ninth Amendment and immediately instate by proclamation all of its unenumerated natural rights, or eliminate a lingering Constitutional flaw by trashing that hapless Amendment!



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