As a committed libertarian minded American, I take the Bill of Rights and its constitutional guarantees against any government interference with individual liberty seriously. There are no constitutional exceptions to each of those guarantees. As far as I’m concerned then they are written in stone. They might be altered but only buy constitutional amendment which entails a lengthy and cumbersome procedure.
That’s what the founding fathers intended as the way to make the United States of America uniquely different than the governments of most other nations, particularly the nation of Great Britain and its tyrannical king, with whom we rebelled against and fought the Revolutionary War.
But Republicans, Democrats, and other myriad forms of statist thinkers, including many of the supposedly apolitical members of the federal and state judiciaries – yes, and even most Americans for that matter -- don’t exactly see it the same as I do. They believe it’s perfectly OK for the state to carve out exceptions by fiat to our otherwise most precious guaranteed liberties.
It’s OK, for example, to infringe upon our constitutional rights as long as the infringements are “reasonable” they reckon. Never-mind that there are no constitutional exceptions to the First Amendment, for instance; they simply invent them and then justify the infringements on the grounds that the state has a “reasonable” compelling interest to do so.
In Britain recently there are two parents who face prison time for taking their children out of school for only a week to go on a special holiday vacation abroad. It was the first holiday the family had enjoyed together in five years. Upon their return from the Greek island of Rhodes, school officials dunned them with a fine of £360 (about $600), which they failed to pay, so now it’s jail time.
Regular attendance is paramount to a child’s educational experience and benefits the overall school community, reasons the British government. The benefit to the community outweighs the liberties of individuals; therefore they deem what these parents decided on for the benefit of their family a crime against the state.
Think again if you don’t believe that this kind of mindless government tyranny can’t happen in America where the Bill of Rights supposedly guarantees our individual liberty. Every jurisdiction in the United States of America has long ago passed compulsory education laws requiring parents and children to submit to the state’s “reasonable” interest in compelling attendance at school.
And there is a long line of precedent in the state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, upholding compulsory school attendance laws as “reasonable” infringements of otherwise enforceable constitutional rights. “There is no doubt as to the power of a State, having a high responsibility for education of its citizens, to impose reasonable regulations for the control and duration of basic education,” declared SCOTUS unanimously in 1972.
But just how is it that there is no doubt?
The court never answers that question. No court ever has. The justices just blithely take it for granted that the state may compel school attendance in most situations as against individual liberty interests if such infringements are deemed “reasonable” despite the plain fact that there are no such “reasonableness” constitutional exceptions to the clear mandates of the Bill of Rights.
The sad fact is that American statists can legally make all parents and children education slaves by criminalizing non-compliance. These statists insist that a supposedly free people are not truly free, but instead owe certain individual obligations and responsibilities to the state even though the Constitution sets forth no such obligations or responsibilities.
The courts have used exactly the same statist reasoning with regard to many other laws, including compulsory military draft and conscription laws, tax laws, even ObamaCare laws. The state can make you its slave as long as it can convince the judges that it’s “reasonable.”
That’s why in America, as in Britain, and elsewhere, the Bill of Rights does not exist if the government wants to “reasonably” make you a compulsory education, or any other kind of slave.