The Potowmack Institute
last revised 06/02/05

G. Gordon Liddy Show, January 25, 2005

Interview with Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Michael Badnarik.

Here is all of right wing ideology at its most elemental. Equally remarkable is the inability of anyone to contradict these preposterous assertions. “Sovereign citizen” is a contradiction in terms. A sovereign gives and enforces law. A citizen consents to be governed under those laws.

Liddy and Badnarik think the Constitution is perverted: It defines treason as the waging of war against the United States and then secures a civil right to private individuals to do the same.

The tyranny here is not the Marxist-Leninist state of gun rights fantasies— but the twentieth century. It is the extreme of the political cynicism that rules our present political life. We might perish, but with a gun in every pocket we will perish pure and free.

A governing authority is such a horrifying threat that Liddy and Badnarik will give Al Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam’s security forces, my drunken neighbor and his teenage son, the absolute freedom to drive up and down my street in M1 battle tanks up to the point when they point their cannons at me. Then there is a clear and present danger and I have a right to self-defense. I can call the police but everyone knows the police have no obligation to show up and protect me. I will need a quick draw anti-tank weapon.

I have always called libertarianism an adolescent affectation. It is interesting that Badnarik compares his “liberty” to the liberty of an adolescent leaving home to escape the oppression of his parents.

Liddy is a big promoter of military service and the martial virtues. The contradiction is completely unobserved that, on one hand, we need a gun in every pocket to preserved our personal autonomy against the tyrannical encroachments of the laws of civil society and Stalinist bureaucrats, on the other, we surrender all personal autonomy to a military command structure. There is no mention in this interview of conscription. The militia clauses of the Constitution, the Second Amendment and the Militia Act of 1792,
were all about conscription. There are no libertarian individual rights in a conscript military organization.

We can’t get these issues out into public discourse?

Liddy: This hour, ladies and gentlemen, my guest is Michael Badnarick. He is— or, was— the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in the past election and he has written what I would call a philosophical work. It is called Good to be King: the Foundation of our Constitution Freedom and Mr. Badnarik, thank you so much for joining us today.

Badnarik: Thank you so much for having me on the air.

Lid: It is my pleasure. Now, before we get into the Libertarian Party and the campaign and things of that sort I would like to discuss some of the issues raised in your book Good to be King. I think, first, why don't you explain the meaning of the title.

Bad: Well, the title had been decided actually before I won the party nomination. When you are running for president a title Good to be King tends to be a little controversial because it is implied assumed— that you want to be good to be THE king. Whereas my title means good to be A king or queen and the basis is that when we wrote the Declaration of Independence we separated from the King of England, that Americans became sovereign citizens, entitled to own property and to decide their own lives. It is my contention that we have 285 million kings and queens in the United States. We are the source of political power in the United States and that we grant limited privileges to the government that we formed.

Lid: Okay, well now, we— I mean you certainly understand that the right of — how we got where we are. We had rebelled against a powerful central government, that of George III, and we had these thirteen colonies and we recognized fairly soon that there were some things that had to be done sort of in unison. It would be very difficult to defend what was then America with thirteen different armies, under thirteen different commanders and responsive to thirteen different governments. That was not going to work and so they had the first joining together of them under the Articles of Confederation and so on. Finally, they decided very reluctantly, as I read the founding documents, to create a central government. They were so fearful of the tendency of central governments to metastasize and grow in power and become tyrannical and so forth that substantial numbers of people just would not go along with it and what occurred was that you had the Federalists who wanted to have the Constitution and the AntiFederalists who didn't. They said, look, what would it take, you guys— what do we have to do— to get you to sign on to this? They worked out a deal whereby they would ratify the Constitution and then immediately amend it, the first ten amendments, which would spell out the individual rights— individual, I want to make clear, the rights were be individual rights— and then they would go for it. The way they attempted to guard against the tendency to grow and become tyrannical was twofold. One was to say, the only powers this new central government will have are the ones specifically enumerated herein, everything else is reserved to the states and to the people. Then there was the Second Amendment which was designed so that the people would remain armed so that if once again the central government became tyrannical the people would have the means to overthrow it and free themselves. Are you and I in agreement on that?

Bad: I think we are in perfect agreement on that and I find it unfortunate that when people like you and I make statements regarding the Second Amendment about the purpose being to defend against our own government that we are considered extremists—

Lid: That we are out in the wood running around in cammies.

Bad: Yes. From George III's point of view the Founding Fathers were radicals. They had not coined the term yet but he might even have considered them "terrorists". They were definitely challenging the status quo. They were definitely resisting against the powers that existed. We find ourselves today in a situation where we have free speech zones in the United States which I mean I am absolutely stunned—

Lid: The whole United States is supposed to be under the First Amendment a free speech zone

Bad: Exactly. During the campaign I spoke to a college audience. It was in a huge auditorium with room for over 300 people and yet there were only a dozen in the first row. I was curious. I said, Why do you have me in this huge auditorium? Why didn't you get a small classroom. We could have been more informal, a little bit more personal. I was told we had to be in the auditorium because as a presidential candidate we had to be in a free speech zone. When I further questioned them, they admitted that the hallway and the rest of the campus were not a free speech zone. And my response to them was anywhere I happen to be standing is a free speech zone.

Lid: Absolutely, I don't know where in the world people get these ideas. Let's see if we can find something that we disagree on. How do you define or right?

Bad: A right simply is something you can do without asking permission. It is inherent in you. Your dreams and your thoughts are inherent in you and you can tell me about your dreams but you cannot put them in a paper bag and give them away. Similarly, your rights are inherent in you and they cannot be given away. It is possible for someone to take your life but it is not possible—

Lid: I would state it differently. I would say it is a sphere of autonomy with the power to act. Would you go along with that?

Bad: I would be willing to accept that, yes.

Lid: Okay. I'll tell you what. We will take a quick break. We will come back and talk about more of these concepts. There is a lot in this book of yours, Good to be King. It is very good. It is very thought provoking and that is what you intended to do.

Bad: Absolutely and I appreciate your recognizing that it is philosophical in nature.

Lid: Yes, indeed. It is called Good to be King: The Foundation of our Constitutional Freedom. It's by Michael Badnarik. It is published by the Writers' Collective. When we come back, please tell us how everybody can get a hold of it. Is it in all the book stores?

Bad: I am certainly hoping so. We've just finished a second printing. It is supposed to be available. You may have to wait 24 hours for them to deliver it to your particular store.

Lid: Okay, thank you. We will take this little break and when we come back more of Good to be King by Michael Badnarik.


Lid: All right, ladies and gentlement, we are back at the G. Gordon Liddy Show. I am in mid conversation with Mr. Michael Badnarik. He was the Libertarian candidate for president in the past election, in the 2004 election. He has written a very thought provoking and interesting book called Good to be King: The Foundation of our Constitutional Freedom. So far we have been— at least I have been trying to find some place where we could differ so we could have a good discussion on our differences. So far we haven't, but, let's try this one: Mr. Badnarik, it is my view having read the Federalist Papers and our history that, first of all, the authors of our Constitution and other basic documents, the Declaration of Independence, etc., were masters of the English language. They really wrote well. There were educated people and they knew whereof they spoke and the way they used language was very precise and they took the position, they spoke, of course, of our unalienable rights— they took the position that we were created by God and God gave us our rights and they could not be taken away from us by man. Indeed, in Culpertino, California, a short while ago, a high school teacher was forbidden to expose his American history students to the Declaration of Independence because of the references to the Creator, means God. They said you may not refer to God. That violates the establishment clause— I think that is ridiculous— but, in reading your book, I gained the impression that that was not why you believe our rights were unalienable. Am I correct?

Bad: Well, it is not my position to enforce that view. The Declaration of Independence talks about Nature and Nature's God and there are many political parties that support the idea that the Constitution and founding documents were derived from the Christian Bible but I think that the United States and our documents were established to protect freedom of all religions.

Lid: Yeah, it would not have to be the Christian Bible if one said belief in God.

Bad: I also believe that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights would protect the rights of atheists. I don't believe a person necessarily has to advocate the existence of a god in order to have his or her rights protected. Whether I hold that personal view or not I find it pretty much irrelevant. I believe all humans have rights. The people in China have a right to life. The difference is that the Chinese government does not respect their right to life.

Lid: I would agree with that. The Founding Fathers based the whole thing on, I would say, the JudeoChristian concept that we were created by God and as his creatures we have unalienable rights that man— mere man— may not take them from us.

Bad: That I agree with.

Lid: Now, let us look at the language in the Second Amendment in which it said, you know, a well- regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state. That is a sort of principle. The second thing is that actual sentence there. It says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Noticed the use of the word "infringe." They are assuming the right and they are simply prohibiting the new central government from infringing upon it.

Bad: Absolutely. I could not agree more. Whenever I defend the Second Amendment, I usually start by asking people if they have filled out a government form that allows them to exercise their religion, ask them if they have a church permit, and they frequently look at me like I have grown a second head and they explain to me that they are not required to get a government permission to exercise a right. To which I promptly agree and tell them that the Second Amendment works the same way. I don't require government permission or a concealed carry permit in order to exercise my right to keep and bear arms to protect myself, my children or my property.

Lid: Yes, and I think that any arm that is man transportable. I am not sure it would extend to a tank or something of that sort.

Bad: Well, the question that frequently comes up, if you are allowed to have a gun are you allowed to have an F16. I have been asked several times. It is a trick question. If I say, "No, of course, you are not allowed to have an F16," then it presumes that the government can impose some limit and now you are debating which limit the government can impose. If you say, "Of course, you can have an F16," then you are automatically labeled an extremists and a wacko and your arguments are refuted as basically insane. Whereas, the line should be drawn at a clear and present danger. Here in Texas we don't even consider a .22 a real gun, but you are allowed to carry a .22. You may even be allowed to pull it out of the holster but the Second Amendment does not give you the right to point that .22 at someone because it poses a clear and present danger. The person doesn't have an opportunity between the time you pull the trigger and the time they actually get injured to intervene in any way. And so I would say that perhaps having an army tank may not pose a clear and present danger but if someone rotates the turret in your direction it clearly does and each person has a right to confront that but they also have the obligation, responsibility and burden of proof to prove that their rights are being threatened.

Lid: It is the old argument that the my right to swing my fist ends at the end of your nose.

Bad: Correct. L. We are in agreement on that. I tell you what, we need to take another commercial break. When we come back what I would like to discuss with you is your very interesting discussion of the difference between common law, admiralty law, statutory situation and I was quite take by your example of the fellow who was commanded by the judge in his court not to refer to the Constitution and why that was a very interesting discussion.

Bad: Excellent.

Lid: We'll take that break and when we come back more with this fascinating book, Good to be King and Michael Badnarik.


Lid: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are back here at the G. Gordon Liddy Show and I am in mid conversation with the 2004 candidate for president of the United State of the Libertarian Party, Michael Badnarik, who is speaking about his really thought provoking new book Good to be King: The Foundation of our Constitutional Freedom. There is a really good discussion in here of jurisdiction and so on. I can recall a conversation that I had on the air with our producer who said when you've got someone who is obviously guilty why do we have to put the country through a trial and all the rest of it. I tried to point out to her— she still disagrees with me— that whether one committed the act or not one is not guilty until a grand jury has found that a crime in all likelihood has been committed and it is probable that this individual committed it and then a petit jury in a court of competent jurisdiction then hears the case, the jury has to be of the person's peers, the trial has to be conducted fairly and then when the jury finds the person guilty and then the person is guilty and even then you have appellate review to see whether or not the trial was fair and everything and she doesn't understand that at all. So let's go into these things and the common law and the statutory law and so forth and the Seventh Amendment et cetera. Let's discuss that.

Bad: Well, I would first like to give a caveat that I am not a lawyer and never hope to be one. The important thing here is for people to understand that law is not one big playing field. That it is subdivided into various jurisdictions. The Constitution is identified as a supreme law of the land. It is based on property. It is in direct contrast to the law of the sea or admiralty law. When we go out to the ocean there is no property. You cannot put up four buoys and claim a section of ocean as your own and necessarily the rules need to be different. It is because people typically do not understand these jurisdictions and the various changes in the rules that frequently get us into trouble. You were referring to a paragraph I wrote about a friend of mine who had a holstered weapon in Colorado, was arrested for violating a city ordinance, and he did that deliberately in an effort to defend the Constitution and the Second Amendment and he and his lawyer were stunned and surprised when the judge indicated that they were not allowed to mention the Constitution much less to use it in their defense. It causes most people some surprise: How could any judge in the United States declare that the Constitution was an invalid argument? I don't claim to know all the answers but clearly being in a court of law is not often what we would think it would be and I suspect that most of the courts in the United States operate under what is referred to as statutory law. I have not been able to figure out exactly the relationship between statutory law and the Constitution, but I believe statutory law is legally extraconstitutional. It is not forbidden by the Constitution but again your rights are not protected under the Constitution as we all assume that they are. One key to this would be the Seventh Amendment which begins in all suits at common law and most of us would be hard pressed to discover where we could go to get a common law jurisdiction and most judges and lawyers that I have encountered are somewhat perplexed when you ask.

Lid: All right, well now, let's assume that is correct, that there is a distinction— and there is— between common law and statutory law. There certainly is between those things and admiralty law. The Constitution addresses prohibitions against the federal government doing things. Now, it is true that court decisions have extended that below and that is where I think the rub comes. If you are alleged to be in violation of a municipal ordinance that is not the federal government, and unless you can show that the cases— the case history— had extended the protections of the Constitution to you in that case— that is why the judge may say the Constitution does not apply here.

Bad: Well, I concur that the Federal Constitution was intended only to apply to the Federal Government. However, the implication that the states can then subsequently violate your rights is irrational. We the people created the state governments and the states subsequently created the Federal Government. The states cannot violate our right to keep and bear arms or a right to freedom of religion simply because they are not mentioned in the federal constitution.

Lid: I agree with you. I am not challenging what I see to be a perfectly logical argument. But we know what has occurred and that is the corruption of the original meaning of the interstate commerce clause has been used to permit the Federal Government to regulate just about everything in this country—

Bad: Absolutely.

Lid: Quite contrary to the wishes of the Founding Fathers.

Bad: Well, the Founding Fathers presumed— incorrectly, unfortunately— that we the people would remain intelligent, would remain vigilant, and that the chances of either the federal or state governments violating our rights would be almost impossible because we the people would jealously guard our liberties and I believe that because we have had such affluence in the United States because we are so comfortable with the amount of food and luxury that we have that we have grown complacent and we no longer monitor what people do in Washington.

Lid: Well, you know, my view is that a people that has grown used to the idea that they need not provide for themselves that it is the obligation of the government to take care of them— medical care and this and that and other thing and why would it occur to them that the government could not infringe on their rights with impunity. You see what I mean?

Bad: Yes, I do and I guess that is the hope and intention of my book to be thought provoking.

Lid: Yes, it is very thought provoking and it is very informative. I wish every citizen of the country would read it. I think they would be startled by what they found therein, but it would certainly provoke them I think and I think the fact that you are not a lawyer will encourage people to read it. Once you say something is written by a lawyer— that is why I always conceal the fact that I am a lawyer— once you say it is written by a lawyer people will say I don't want to read that because they think it will be baffling and full of argle bargle and confusing. I tell you what. We need to take a quick break and when we come back I would like for you to tell us about your running for President as the candidate of the Libertarian Party.