The Silver Bullet for Liberty Statement by Tom DeWeese 2005 Freedom 21 National Conference Reno, Nevada

Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice David Souter. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Stephen Breyer.

These four men and one woman have ruled that the United States Constitution truly is a meaningless document. Their ruling in the Kelo case declared that Americans own nothing.

After declaring that all property is subject to the whim of a government official, it’s just a short trip to declaring that government can now confiscate anything we own; anything we create; anything we believe. They said our purpose in this country is to simply “serve the greater good.” Our own hopes and dreams mean nothing. The state now decides.

Without the right to own and control private property, there are no other rights. Freedom of speech can’t survive if we have no property on which to stand as we express our ideas. Guns are property and can now be confiscated. Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures was lost with the Patriot Act. And the right to a fair trial? Fair by whose standards – the same government that can now simply take your home because it wants to line its pockets with the building of a new shopping mall?

Our government just ruled that there are no natural rights – only rights it cares to grant us. Rights that will flow with the ebb and tow of daily change. There is no foundation. No root of liberty. For property rights are gone.

Founding principles

Our Founding Fathers left no doubt in their writings, their deeds or their governing documents as to where they stood on the vital importance of private property in a free society.

John Locke (one of the major influences on the Founding Fathers as they created this nation) said: “Government has no other end than the preservation of property.”

The great French economist, Frederic Bastiat said: “Life, liberty and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

John Adams said it best when he wrote: “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God; and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

Adams would be shocked to learn that the Supreme Court of the nation he helped create would agree to empower government to take private land to enrich the pockets of private profiteers.

229 years of American ideals of liberty have come to an end. In one crash of the gavel, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer have declared themselves above the ideals of Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Madison and Henry. It is the end of the Enlightenment. The end of the Shining City on a Hill.

It is no longer a warning of what might happen. It is reality. It wasn’t black helicopters we needed to fear. It was the black robes of the Supreme Court.

Is tyranny our fate?

The question now becomes, what do we do? Obviously we have one of two choices. We accept our fate, or we fight. Are we finished? Do we quit? Do we surrender?

It would be easy to do that. No one would blame us. We gave it the good fight. We could hide behind the idea that ancient conspiracies set our fate long before we were born. Members of secret societies somehow trumped every ideal we hold – and overpowered every move we made.

We could pat ourselves on the back and say, well, they were just too strong. What could we do? Tyranny is our destiny. Is that what you want to tell your grand children when they ask you what you did to preserve the ideal of America?

In another era, we could have loaded up boats and sailed to a new world to live by the ideals we hold. But that was already done. People ran from tyranny. They came here – to America.

Now tyranny has caught us. And there’s nowhere else to run. We either accept our pre-ordained “fate” or make a stand. This is it, my friends. This is the moment when we decide the future of our ideals.

You know the ideals I’m talking about. That you are born with liberty. That it is your natural right to speak your mind; start a business; own and control property; build your dream home – and expect it to be there for as long as you like; practice your religion exactly as you believe; and, above all, expect that the government will protect those rights at all costs.

We know by witnessing history that totalitarianism does not work. Government control of the actions of the people only leads to poverty and misery. We know that people pinned under the heavy hand of government do not produce for their masters. We know that that there is no such thing as faceless, nameless masses in some undefined “common good.” We know that the United States was the first nation ever created that recognized the natural rights of individuals – and America’s history has proven that such a system is the only one that produces prosperity and happiness.

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our nation. And the future of liberty. The Supreme Court put the decision on our door step. There is no middle ground. And they are forcing us to make that decision today.

Do we fight for those ideals of liberty? Or will we allow them to be lost forever under some global village? Do nothing, and they have made the decision for us. What can be easier than that?

Fighting back

But if we decide to fight, then we truly must know what we are doing. Half hearted attempts at rallies and letter writing, like we’ve done in the past, won’t get the job done. No short cuts. No silly rhetoric.

I’ve got to tell you, I get some pretty strange stuff in my office. Letters, e-mails, phone calls. People write to me with ideas they think will put us on the road to victory. Everybody’s looking for that one quick fix. The right slogan. The silver bullet – that will defeat our enemies and restore freedom to America. Almost daily, I receive someone’s solution – the great plan that no one else has thought of.

A good friend of mine, for example, wrote a huge book that carried all of the facts and figures to prove his position against a certain government program. He called me to say all we had to do to turn things around was to get a copy of the book into the hands of every single member of congress.

I tried to explain that Congressmen can’t read. In fact, they now have the votes in Congress operating exactly like a fast food restaurant. You know the ones where they have so many illegal aliens operating the front counter w.

Without the right to own and control private property, there are no other rights. Freedom of spee
h can’t survive if we have no property on which to stand as we express our ideas. Guns are property and can now be confiscated. Protection against unreasumbers so they will understand. H.R. 1 – yes. H.R.1146 – no. In fact, about the only question they ask now is “Do you want to super size that?”

I’ve received buttons, bumper stickers and tee shirts – all created to provide “the message” that will turn everything around. I’ve receive phone calls resulting in long discussions about how to come up with just the right sound bite that will capture the nation’s imagination and send the scoundrels to the tall grass.

And my personal favorite – we’ll use words that will be so innocent sounding that the other side won’t know what we are really up to.


On that subject, let me just say, I will not be a part of the current ridiculous campaign to “update and strengthen” the Endangered Species Act. I don’t want the worst piece of legislation of all time to be “updated and strengthened.” I want it repealed.

If you want something then you must demand it. It may be that, in the end, you don’t get your way, but what you have to settle for is a whole lot better than if you had never tried. Do you want this monster off your back? Then start today to demand what you want.

Instead of standing there with your head down, following orders of people with suspected motives, who tell us to “never say repeal,” stand up for what you want.

Here’s a modest suggestion. Hold rallies on state house lawns to demand repeal of the ESA. Burn it in effigy. Tar and feather it and run it out of town on a rail. Make a quilt with the names of all of the ESA victims depicted. Name the towns that have disappeared; The businesses that have been destroyed; show the brands of the ranches that no longer exist. Spread it out on all of the state capital lawns while someone reads the names out loud.

And if you do this, state lawn by state lawn – back in Washington, those cowards hiding behind the marble columns of the Capitol Building will hear you. If your rallies are strong enough you may hear them say, “My people don’t even want this thing – so we had better do something to give them some property rights protections.”

I guarantee that the result will be much more to your liking than you’re ever going to get with the current scared little whisper of a request – “can we have some property rights protections, please?” If we had done that ten years ago, instead of standing down, afraid to say repeal, we wouldn’t be reduced to silly games today.

Why are our so-called champions on the Hill so afraid to do what is right and start a campaign to repeal the ESA so we can stop destroying American dreams with the most destructive law ever to get on the books?

Because of the Kelo ruling, shocked Americans are more ready now than ever before to listen. But still we’re told, it can’t be done. Perhaps it’s because some of our “champions” don’t really want it gone.

Update and strengthen. You see, update means – no compensation until you’ve already lost half of your land. Strengthen means – add the Invasive Species language that we’ve been fighting for more than ten years.

Add that language, as, I’m sorry to report Congressman Pombo is apparently doing in his new ESA reauthorization bill, and you’ll wish you had the old one back.

This is an industry bill, and will serve no purpose other than to help one industry hurt another one. Property rights protection is an afterthought that will be sacrificed first in negotiations.

I believe that the proposed ESA authorization bill is nothing more than Kelo 2. The bill doesn’t deserve our support. It needs to be declared “dead on arrival.” The fact is, doing the right thing has become the hardest part of political life. But, in this late hour, as liberty is crashing down around us, it’s time we start.

The silver bullet

So what is the silver bullet to save our liberty? I’m going to give it to you.

My friends, I often hear it lamented that the Republic is dead. That we are now controlled by Washington. You know what – I have found that isn’t true. The Republic is still there buried under the weight of un-elected planning commissions, visioning statements and review boards.

Squeezed under all of that is the Republic of our Founding Fathers, rusting from lack of use. But it’s still there and still armed with the silver bullet the founders provided. The one to guarantee that no one could take it away.

You see, our founders created this Republic to be self protected by making government at the local level the most powerful force.

The Silver Bullet is the “precinct captain.” You scoff? You were hoping for something much more exciting! Well, that’s probably the very reason we’ve ignored it.

We would much rather turn our attention to Washington, Congress, or the President. Why then, are these government entities so powerful today? Because we’ve let them become powerful by placing all of our attention on them – while ignoring involvement in local government.

But the power still lies in the precinct captain. Our opponents know it. They have left no lowly office untouched.

Check it out. Go to your local government and check out the policies being implemented by the game warden and the dog catcher – Sustainable Development and animal rights, most likely.

City treasurer. City clerk. The people who collect the taxes and issue permits. What are their policies? How about the development department and its policy for building permits? Sustainable Development? Now move on up to City Council and Mayor.

Just one month ago, the United Nations held a major conference in San Francisco on Sustainable Development. The main target for the conference were the mayors. Those who attended were asked to sign two documents – the Green Cities Declaration and the Urban Environmental Accords in which the Mayors pledged to undertake 21 action items over the next few years to implement Sustainable Development.

These action items included water policy, energy policy, transportation and health. They were provided sample legislation and pledged to enact it. The policies called for the implementation of the Kyoto Global Warming treaty and Agenda 21.

One week later, in Chicago, the U.S. Conference of Mayors called for the very same policies. Go to its web site and you will see that Sustainable Development and Kyoto are the two priorities of the nation’s mayors.

Our enemies know that the power to impose this tyranny on us is now at the local level. It will do little good to spend time trying to stop it through Congress or the White House. In fact, President Bush already said we weren’t going to participate as a nation in the Kyoto Treaty.

What does the UN understand that you and I don’t? That it doesn’t matter what Washington’s policy is. They will just get the local cities and towns to do it anyway – because the towns and cities have the power to decide for themselves.

The Mexican government understands that fact. That’s why, even though the federal government has never officially recognized acceptance of the Consular ID cards, Mexico is going straight to local government to get it accepted.

Think globally – act locally

Think globally – act locally is not just a slogan. It’s an agenda. Now, to save our Republic and way of life, we need to make it our agenda. The Founding Fathers did.

Now that the UN meeting in San Francisco is over, watch as more and more local communities begin to organize non elected planning boards to control your lives.

Do you want to stop it? Then follow this plan. But be warned – it’s a lot of hard work. It’s hard – because we’ve neglected it for so long.

Make a chart of every single position available in your county. Break it down to the precinct level and then the ward level. List every office. Every board position. Now you will begin to see how large a task it is. But take it one step at a time. Start to fill those spots.

Work quietly. Please don’t hold a press conference to announce to the community that you plan to take it over. Work through what ever party you want – even the Democrats. The goal here is to get our people, who understand the Sustainablist agenda, into places of decision making. It would be a dream come true to have candidates from every party running on the same issue. It’s a goal to shoot for. The other side seems to have achieved it.

But make sure those candidates are people who understand the entire picture of Sustainable Development and Agenda 21. It will do you no good to help elect candidates that are, perhaps, good on one issue, like gun control or abortion, but fail to see the whole picture. Those are the very people who will fail you later.

Take over a precinct. Just one. You will control the election of every candidate at every level – at least in your little part of the city. Then take two.

You will need precinct workers to make sure our people get to the polls. You will need poll workers to make sure our votes are counted. Make sure they are people you can trust.

Run a candidate for the lowest office in town. Control it. No position is without power. And do it again. Go up the ladder. Get more precincts. Grow, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Step by step. Control enough precincts and even presidential candidates will seek you out for help in getting elected. You will control the candidates. You can stop the bad ones from even being able to run. Again, I warn you, only help elect local officials who oppose Sustainable Development. Refuse to support the lessor of two evils.

Pay attention to the non-elected review boards, policy committees and planning commissions. Can you get one of your people on it? Who is doing the appointing? Can you imagine the damage we could do to Sustainablist goals by getting one person on the local architectural review board? Don’t forget those hated homeowners associations. Get on the board and control policy. And don’t stop there.

You need to have the ability to create controversy against policies by current office holders. This will help you find like minded folks to join you. And it will help create issues so your candidates can win. Remember, most people would oppose them if they knew the truth. Tell them. Spread out.

A new Chamber of Commerce?

Consider this idea. If your local farm bureau or Chamber of Commerce isn’t representing you – start a new one. Understand this – you don’t have to just take their double dealing. Go around them. Show up at council meetings, or at the meetings of any agency or board that purports to make policy that affects you.

As a new group representing business interests, homeowners or farmers, demand your say. Back up your demands by issuing news releases and doing interviews on local radio and television – representing your new group. Start saying over and over again that the governing body isn’t representing the interests of your constituents.

If you make enough noise as the group which is truly standing up for farmers or businesses or homeowners, those individuals will follow you. You will pull the power structure right out from under the established organizations that have been taken over by our enemies.

Legislatures, courts, and the ballot box

The Supreme Court hit us with a crushing blow. But it is not the final one – by any means. In fact, it may well be the spark we’ve needed to, not only get ourselves geared up – but to bring others to our cause.

People are starting to fight back across the nation. You’ve already heard of the successful ballot measure 37 in Oregon. In one of the greenest states in the nation, they demanded and got 100% compensation – retroactive! Measure 37 was won at the ballot box in a campaign that was run on a shoestring against the entrenched green behemoth we are all told to fear.

The State of Utah has stood up to the Federal Department of Education and tossed out No Child Left Behind; that was the state legislature. The State of Wisconsin has passed legislation against Smart Growth policy; that was the state legislature. The State of Georgia has said no to mental health screening; that was the state legislature. And I keep hearing that state legislatures are nothing but puppets for Washington.

More than 100 communities across the nation have said no to the Patriot Act. That was in city councils. The Michigan Supreme Court overturned the most offensive Eminent Domain ruling – the very one most communities have been using as their excuse to grab private property for private development. Michigan may now have the strongest property rights protections in the nation. That was in the courts.

We can build on these successes by organizing state by state, town by town – to force legislation to safeguard property rights. That train has obviously already left the station.

Rather than despair, consider this: The Supreme Court may have done us a huge favor. For the first time in many decades, property rights are on the front pages. People who have rarely entertained a political thought in their lives are now talking about the Supreme Court decision and understanding that it is very bad.

Congress has rushed to produce bills in both the House and the Senate to effectively overturn Kelo. Each bill is called the Property Rights Protection Act. State legislatures are now the major focus of campaigns to pass strong property rights language. Did you ever think you would see such efforts nationwide?

Those who are pushing Sustainable Development and globalism are now, frankly, out of step – old fashioned – out of date. And so are those who are telling you that it’s just too dangerous to ask for property rights protection in a new ESA.

Sure we are way behind. Sure, we have a massive job ahead of us and we would be fools to delude ourselves otherwise. But, after all of our hard work over the years, after being a lone voice in the wilderness, something has started here. Thank the Supreme Court for jarring a lot of sleeping Americans awake. Our job now is to keep fanning the flames.

Now is not the time to circle the wagons or give up. Now is the time to move out, get involved, and turn the tables. Stop being polite to your oppressors. Tell them their time is through. Tell those who pretend to speak for you in Washington to either get on board with our agenda – or get out of the way. We are no longer going to go quietly into the night.

If you want to get rid of the ESA – then say so. Tell them to repeal it. Organize those rallies on State House lawns instead of letting someone else tell you to stand down while they speak for you in Washington.

If you want to defeat Sustainable Development – then expose it for what it is – a soviet collective that has no business in the United States of America.

Demand an end to the use of eminent domain. Tell them no more private homes will be taken so Wal Mart can get richer. Americans are ready to listen.

Get mad. But get busy. And do what it takes to win. Organize at the local level – use the power the Founding Fathers gave us to preserve the Republic – and throw off the yoke of tyranny.

Write this down and take it home with you: “The right of the individual to own and control private property is the foundation of liberty.” And now write this: “Precinct Captain is the root to victory.” That’s the silver bullet that leads to sustained liberty. Put the two together and restore and preserve this Republic.

Now that’s something to tell your grandchildren when they ask what you did in the great war to preserve American liberty. Salute, and tell them “I was a Precinct Captain.”

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.