All posts by principledpolicy

Institute on the Constitution–Bearing Good Fruit

The Institute for Principled Policy and Camp American have been jointly sponsoring classes of Institute on the Constitution for over two years now.  One of our goals for this class is to prepare citizens for engaging actively in our governmental structures with a foundation of Biblical and constitutional principles to stand on.

In 2012, our goals became reality as two graduates of Institute on the Constitution, Jim Butler and Scott Cadle, decided to run for public office for the first time.  Each stood for the office of Delegate in the West Virginia state Legislature.  Each man had to win a multiple-candidate primary before moving onto the general election.  On November 6th, Butler and Cadle each won a term in the legislature for their districts.

On Tuesday, December 4th, Delegate Scott Cadle of Letart and Delegate Jim Butler of Gallipolis Ferry were officially sworn in at the West Virginia State Capitol by Judge Thomas Evans. Judge Evans is a judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit, which includes Mason, Jackson, Roane, and Calhoun Counties.

Delegate Cadle represents Northern Mason County, along with part of Putnam and Jackson Counties. Delegate Butler represents Southern Mason County and part of Putnam County.  The first day of the 2013 Legislative Session will be January 9th, followed by a break until February 13th when the sixty day session begins.

The Institute for Principled Policy, Camp American and Institute on the Constitution wishes to extend our heartfelt congratulations to these two distinguished and determined citizens.

Swearing in ceremony




Tom DeWeese to speak in Ohio

The Institute for Principled Policy is proud to welcome Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, to Ohio to present a seminar: “Sustainable Development: The United Nations’ Agenda to Eradicate Private Property Rights” on Saturday, April 30th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on the campus of THE Ohio State University, 31 Hitchcock Hall, 2070 Neil Ave., Columbus, 43215. Tom will also be signing copies of his new book “Now Tell Me I Was Wrong”.
The Institute is joined in this effort by the Ohio State chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, the Ohio Liberty Council, and the Ohio Freedom Alliance.
The event is free and open to the public.
Join us for a very important discussion on how to combat the attack on property rights being waged through your local governments!
Please RSVP to [email protected]

Call for Constitutional thinking

Reading a recent press release from the FBI regarding the case of Bernard von NotHaus being convicted of the crime of minting his own money, I realized that this case is an interesting study in the application of the Constitution.

As you will note, the federal government relies on Article 1, Section 8, clause 5 to reserve to the government the right to coin money, and as the basis for bringing the conviction against Mr. NotHaus.  Now the next phase of the government’s efforts, the forfeiture of Mr. NotHaus’ assets comprising 16,000 pounds of precious metals in the form of coinage, begins.

U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins (Western district, North Carolina) is quoted as stating that Mr. NotHaus’ activities are a “unique form of domestic terrorism”:  a singularly weighty charge, and one that she directly states “challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

So, here’s the call:  the Institute for Principled Policy is calling for short papers, under 1600 words, that will argue for the Consitutionality, or lack thereof, of either Mr. NotHaus’ actions in creating and circulating the “Liberty Dollars”, or of the government’s actions in convicting Mr. NotHaus, including the forfeiture action.  Please make your submission to the Institute by no later than April 15th.

Sharpen your pencils (or spray the dust from under your keys), and put on your Constitutional thinking caps.  Essays judged to be Constitutionally sound by the Institute’s review board will be published on the site.

If you don’t know where you come from….

“…you won’t know where you’re going…” or so the saying goes.  This sentiment is especially true when it comes to understanding and defending our form of government, establishing liberty under law.  Amazingly, in Ohio, this education is something that it is going to take an action of the Ohio General Assembly to ensure students in schools receive.

On Tuesday, February 22nd, a press conference was held at the Ohio Statehouse to announce the introduction of the “Founding of America Documents” bill, legislation that would require the teaching, in 9th-12th grade, of such important documents as the US and Ohio constitutions, the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers.  The goal of the legislation is to strengthen Ohio’s American History and Government standards put forth by the Ohio Board of Education, which currently does not require students learning the history of their own form of goverment in any depth whatsoever, receiving a score of 3 out of 10 from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation’s survey “The State of State U.S. History Standards 2011”.

Institute for Principled Policy director Barry Sheets presented his supporting comments at this press conference.  The Institute believes that students should be taught the importance of these historical documents, and will be working with sponsors Senator Tim Grendell and Representative John Adams to have this study begin earlier than the 9th grade.

Comments supporting the “Founding of America Documents” bill by Barry Sheets, Director, Institute for Principled Policy:

“Good morning.  I am Barry Sheets, director of the Institute for Principled Policy, a non-profit public policy think tank. The Institute supports the introduction of this legislation, and would like to thank the legislative sponsors of this bill, and the organizations here today who are showing their public support for this common-sense issue.

Yesterday was Presidents’ Day, and today we celebrate the birth of George Washington, the first President under the United States Constitution.  We have our students celebrate this day, but they also must understand the document which gave us Presidents in the first place.  This bill will have those founding documents taught beginning in 9th grade.  This is a good thing, but the Institute would like to see it start even earlier, as early as the 4th or 5th grade level, and develop the foundation blocks for a study of the fundamental documents enumerated in the bill, along with other important documents such as the Mayflower Compact, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Articles of Confederation, among other key writings.

Recently, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni commissioned a study of over 700 American colleges and universities relating to their teaching of our American founding documents.  Their findings are startling and disturbing.  The survey found that less than 20% of the public institutions require American History, and less than 6% of the private institutions do so.  Only 140 schools even required a survey course; 600 schools didn’t.  Therefore, if we believe our students will be o.k. if they don’t learn about our founding and form of government in high school because they will surely get it when they go to college (among those students who actually do), we are fooling ourselves and doing these and all students a grave disservice by leaving them ignorant of the history of our American experiment in liberty.

This bill is necessary, and will go far to help encourage students to become engaged citizens.  Perhaps we will be able at some point in the future to correct the out of balance practices in our goverment if students read and study these materials, such as this from Federalist 45, penned by James Madison:

‘…powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.  The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiations, and foreign commerce.  The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of all the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state.’

The Institute for Principled Policy stands firmly in support of this legislation, and will work with the sponsors in testimony and advocacy toward passage of this bill.  Thank you.”

Nothing ventured; nothing gained

Today, the Institute for Principled Policy’s executive director, Barry Sheets, participated in a press conference to announce the introduction of pro-life legislation by the Ohio House of Representatives. The legislation, known as the Ohio Human Heartbeat Protection Act, would protect defenseless unborn human beings from abortion by making the abortion act illegal beginning at the point that the heartbeat is detected.

The bill, sponsored by state Representative Lynn Wachtmann of Napoleon (also the chairman of the Ohio House Health committee where the bill will be debated), is the strongest pro-life measure to yet come before Ohio legislators.

The Institute has worked in collaboration with a number of pro-life and pro-family organizations including Faith2Action, Family First, and many county Right to Life organizations in the state as well as attorneys and medical professionals to bring this legislation to the Ohio Legislature. Over forty state representatives have signed on as co-sponsors, and it is likely that upon introduction the bill will have a majority of the Ohio House as co-sponsors.

This effort is being supported by a large grassroots show of support, as over 4,000 red mylar heart-shaped balloons sponsored by pro-life citizens will be delivered to the members of the Ohio General Assembly on Valentine’s Day with the message “Have a Heart! Pass the Heartbeat bill!”

Some pro-life organizations are opposing the Ohio Human Heartbeat Protection Act, stating that the bill has “no chance” of passing US Supreme Court muster. Whether or not this crystal-ball prediction is valid will only be determined by standing on principle and passing the legislation, sending it on to the courts, and only then worrying about whether or not Anthony Kennedy got up on the wrong side of his bed that day.

Nothing ventured; nothing gained. Roe v. Wade stands as a strengthened precedent if it is never challenged. Ohio’s legislators and citizens are up to that challenge. Pass the Heartbeat bill!

Of Spitballs and security

There is one very positive result of the recent actions of the Spotsylvania High School officials in exercising their “Gun-Free Schools Act” responsibilities against profligate lawbreaker 14-year-old Andrew Mikel II.   As reported in the Washington Post, Mikel was expelled from the school for utilizing a casing of an ink pen to propel small plastic balls at his classmates.  In other words, a spitball shooter.  For this heinous crime, Mikel is being not only expelled, but local law enforcement is requiring him to submit to a 12-month “diversion” program in lieu of criminal charges being pursued.

What’s positive in all this, you ask?  The answer is buried in the article:  the Mikel family has decided to homeschool young Andrew.  Instead of subjecting this precocious young man to the “security” regime of the government-run education system, they are planning (and will hopefully continue to persevere in the decision) to take control of their child’s education. 

The district should take comfort to know that such a dangerous individual will be removed from their community, and the security level of their district can return to the “Yellow” status.

Hamilton’s Curse Chapter 8–Poisoned Fruits of “Hamilton’s Republic”

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Hamilton's Curse

HamiltonsCurse“Conservatives who genuinely believe in limited government are not generally exposed to the Hamilton who at the Constitutional Convention called for a king-like permanent president and who subsequently dedicated himself to undermining the limits on governmental power laid out in the very Constitution he championed in the Federalist Papers.”  This quote from page 171 of the book Hamilton’s Curse is a bit of an understatement, as most Americans, conservative and otherwise, are generally exposed to the results of Hamilton’s efforts in our government, our systems of education, business and finance, to name but a few.  The bowl of Hamilton’s poisoned fruit is spilling over with plenty.

As a matter of fact, the 1930’s saw the implementation of Hamiltonian ideology in a key area:  education.  Charles Beard,, introduced the “economic basis” theory of government, which has since poisoned generations of students, policymakers and jurists with this pernicious theory.  This “economic basis” theorem is pure Hamiltonian, and is a consequence of the shift that happened in this country from 1913 onward (with the implementation of the income tax and the Federal Reserve laying the groundwork for a wholesale restructuring of our form of government.)

DiLorenzo lays out the case for the interface of big business interests supporting big government intervention programs (think the Bush/Obama “stimulus” packages and your on the right track); a laundry list of federal “welfare” to business interests that caps out at a neat $90 billion per year.  Other studies have shown it to be greater than that in some instances.

Couple this with a “justice” system at the federal level (Supreme Court) who from 1937-1995 couldn’t find a single piece of federal legislation to be unconstitutional, and you get the complete Hamiltonian package of an “energetic” government with the “fuel” of commercial interests to drive it onward.

This is an amazing record for a body that routinely passes unconstitutional legislation (and did during that period too).  The key to this amazing record is a wildly broad reading of the interstate commerce clause which basically posits that pretty much any form of human behavior has relationships to interstate commerce, and can therefore be regulated by federal statute.

So what are some of the fruits of this poisonous philosophy of “government uber alles?”  Here’s just a representative sample of the results:

–the use of federal grants to states as a control mechanism to kill states rights (think ‘highway funds’ or ‘crime prevention grants’ and you see the link);

–the use of the Incorporation doctrine (through the 14th Amendment) to apply the strictures on the federal government through the Bill of Rights to the states as a restriction on state sovereignty;

–adoption of the “higher law theory” of jurisprudence:  allowing the courts to sidestep the rules of the Constitution in order to apply novel legal (but extra-constitutional) theories;

–the use of executive orders by the President to control or seize power, thus allowing the Executive to act as dictator;

–manipulation of the monetary supply by the Federal Reserve in order to create economic instability as a precursor to radical shifts in power through legislative enactments;

–attaching citizens to the federal government, tying bondholders and others to a primary interest in the growth of government.  Woods illustrates it this way: “According to economist Gary Shilling, 52.6 percent of Americans in 2007 received significant assistance of some kind from the federal government.” and;

–creating an international mercantilist empire, the needs of which lead to agressive expansions of military force and presence.

These are just some of the ways the fruit of Hamilton’s philosophy has ripened (and rotted on the vine).  Woods sums up the chapter’s theme:  “The final characteristic of empires, according to Morley, is that they are sold to the public in grandiose terms about spreading blessings for all mankind, when in reality their main purpose is to allow those who pull the strings of the empire to accumulate money and power.”

Hamilton would be proud of seeing the modern results of his efforts.

Dispatch from Camp

It is another beautiful day here on the shores of Lake James in northern Indiana, and Camp American is in full swing.  Dozens of campers, along with a number of adult counselors and staff are into the flow of camp life.  Many of the campers are returning for their second, third, fourth or more years of participating in Camp American.

A normal morning at camp consists of an early wake up call, flag raising and morning devotions, a hearty breakfast cooked by the volunteer kitchen staff, and then campers (and many of the staff and assistants) are given three class lecture periods on the Christian history of our nation and our founding documents, are familizarized with the Constitution and how it applies in American life, taught about existing and new issues in the culture that can impact them (and that they can impact), and given tools to be able to apply their learning “in the real world.”

The classes are being taught by some well-recognized names in their fields:  Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, Dr. Michael Coffman of Environmental Perspectives, Pastor David Whitney of Institutes on the Constitution, Charles Michaelis with the Institute for Principled Policy, and Barry Sheets with Principled Policy Consulting.

Camp wouldn’t be complete without camp activities to keep the young ladies and gentlemen exercising their bodies as well as their brains, so Camp American provides many opportunities for recreation, including basketball, volleyball, skiing, tubing, rollerskating, go kart racing, and bowling to name a few, as well as organized “camp games” to allow for the competitive spirit to be nourished.  The week wraps up with the “Constitution Game” a three-hour exercise on how to take hypothetical (and often times real-world) situations and find the Constitutional warrant or prohibition on the situation.

Your correspondent had the opportunity to teach the campers on two subjects:  Biblical and Constitutional tools to analyze policy, and a workshop on how to read and analyze legislation.  These classes encouraged a great deal of participation from the campers, which helps them retain the information. 

Camp American is a wonderful opportunity to equip the next generation to engage in the fight for liberty under law.  Consider having your 12 and up child be a part of Camp American 2011!

Changing the Culture through Winning Campaigns

Can you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

1.  Are you frustrated with the absence of principled leadership in politics?

2. Are you fed up with elected officials who talk the talk, but refuse to walk their talk?

3. Have you grown weary of being handed candidates by political parties who are “electable” instead of principled?

4. Would you like to have elected officials who adhere to our country’s founding philosophy (ie: who adhere to the Constitution)?

5. Are you willing to stand up and run for office yourself or become someone who can effectively “hold up the arms” of someone who will?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then the training school that is being put on by Citizens for Community Values in Cincinnati on January 14 and 15 is something you just can’t afford to miss.

This candidate training school will be held at the Courtyard Marriott hotel at the Greater Cincinnati airport on Thursday, January 14 and Friday, January 15.  Nationally recognized trainers will be putting on this intense campaign training, and it is being provided for free!

This training is not just for candidates and their campaign staff members, but as well as for potential candidates, leaders in politics and the culture, and for grassroots activists and volunteers who want to begin the process of bringing real hope and change to our country.

Check here for more information and for how to register, but be quick, registrations received before January 8th will receive a special “Campaign Jumpstart Toolkit” with materials that will help potential candidates to create a winning edge.  Some of the board of the Institute for Principled Policy will be attending, and we hope to see many of you there as well.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Institute for Principled Policy

784px-the_first_thanksgiving_jean_louis_gerome_ferrisMay you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving celebration, from the Board and staff of the Institute for Principled Policy!



JUNE 20, 1676

“The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed,

It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God’s Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.”

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (June 20, 1676)

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their community securely established. By unamimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving, our first. That proclamation is reproduced here in the same language and spelling as the original.

Prepared by Gerald Murphy (The Cleveland Free-Net – aa300) Distributed by the Cybercasting Services Division of the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN).