October 28, 2021
Editor’s Note: In a front page article printed in the Idaho State Journal (Journal) on Wednesday, October 27 (Pocatello officials question Worley’s views on guns, local sovereignty), “several city officials” were said to question Mayoral candidate David Worley’s support of the 2nd Amendment and individual rights, apparently calling them, “fringe beliefs.” While, according to the article, “Other local politicians who contacted the Idaho State Journal with concerns about Worley’s views declined to speak on the record,” his opponents in the race for mayor, current Mayor Brian Blad and City Council Member Chris Stevens, are quoted in the piece. You can find the article on the Journal’s Facebook page. Here, David Worley responds:
On Sovereignty, Freedom, and Radicalism
By: Pocatello Mayoral Candidate David Worley
My position on local sovereignty is clear and rooted in the principles and ideals of the American Revolution. However, my detractors argue that it is extreme and radical to assert that local government officials have a right and moral obligation to resist the tyrannical acts of a higher level of government. In reality, what is radical is the idea that the only appropriate response to tyranny is surrender.
If the duty of a lower level of government, a lesser magistrate, is to obey the orders of a higher government power in all circumstances; when did this begin? Should the thirteen colonies have yielded to King George III? Should the colonial legislatures have stopped at petitions to the British Empire? Should Samuel Adams, a tax collector, have served the king instead of forming the Sons of Liberty? The answer is clearly no. There is a time to refuse the orders of the king.
“…resistance is justified when it comes to protecting fundamental rights such as the right to provide for your family, bodily autonomy, or the right to keep and bear arms.”
My opponents want you to believe that I am lawless and reckless, potentially plunging us
into “chaos and anarchy.” This is far from the case. I recognize the same limitations the
Founders recognized in the Declaration of Independence on the right to resist tyranny. These types of conflicts are not to be had over “light and transient causes.” However, resistance is justified when it comes to protecting fundamental rights such as the right to provide for your family, bodily autonomy, or the right to keep and bear arms.
During the pandemic, federal and state mandates shut down or curtailed the activities of
businesses deemed “non-essential.” This was a direct attack on the property rights of business owners and the right of people to put food on their tables. People lost their jobs, businesses, and homes. No government program even came close to compensating for the damage these policies did. Our local officials did nothing to resist COVID restrictions, or were advocates for them.
The federal COVID vaccine mandate is a direct attack on bodily autonomy. No one
should live in fear of losing their job or becoming a second-class citizen due to a private medical decision. Yet, my opponents have said little or nothing about resisting the mandate or protecting our right to control what goes into your own bloodstream.
Only tyrants need a disarmed citizenry. Any attempt to disarm a free people should be
resisted. Local law enforcement should interpose on behalf of the citizens they serve. The
alternative is for our police to actively assist tyranny from a higher level of government or
passively let it happen. The Declaration of Independence is clear “to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men.” The central purpose of government is to protect your God-given rights. Failure to do so is a dereliction of the highest duty of government.
It is true. I gave a speech on the Second Amendment to a group of patriots who formed a
militia in response to a direct threat to the right of Virginians to keep and bear arms. Our nation was founded by brave men who were willing to fight for their freedom, and I am proud that the same spirit still exists in the hearts of many Americans.
What was truly radical about Virginia’s situation in 2020 was that the state’s governor,
Ralph Northam, was trying to pass a law that completely violated the United States and Virginia constitutions – a law that was such a naked attempt to disarm the people of Virginia that 86 of Virginia’s 95 counties passed resolutions saying they would not enforce it. Bannock County has a similar resolution regarding any Federal attempt to violate the Second Amendment.
“I will fight for our freedoms; my detractors have shown in word and deed they will not.”
The proposed law was so extreme and such a clear threat to the right to keep and bear
arms that groups like this sprouted up across the state. The right to gather and organize with one’s fellows to protect the freedom of yourself and your community is as old as recorded history. Again, the truly extreme position is to presume that the only suitable response to tyranny is capitulation.
My opponents also challenge the idea that an official can decide which laws are
unconstitutional or immoral. Their concerns would be justified if I argued for arbitrary power, but that has never been my argument. My views are summarized best in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
“One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?”
The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I
would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.
…How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made
code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is
out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An
unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”
This is why the Founding Fathers appealed to the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” in the
Declaration of Independence. I claim no arbitrary power for local government, only the same concepts of rights, justice, and law that have been recognized in Western thought for hundreds of years.
Finally, this right and responsibility to resist tyranny has an ultimate check against its
unjust use, the people. The Declaration of Independence states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Suppose the people decide at some point that I, as mayor, have unjustly resisted a higher level of government. In that case, they can and should remove me from office at the next election or through a recall if a speedier removal is required.
I am offering the citizens of Pocatello a clear choice between two fundamentally different
views on government. I will fight for our freedoms; my detractors have shown in word and deed they will not. So if you want change in Pocatello, make your voice heard on November 2nd.