The First Amendment – The REAL Patriot Act

The First Amendment - The REAL Patriot Act

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Law is meant to protect the inalienable  rights of people. But the Patriot Act acts.  It does not protect human rights. It is not real patriotism. It  imposes the will of institutional government upon people, at the expense of the rights inherent to our humanity.

The First Amendment in the U.S.A. Bill of Rights is the original patriot act.  The First Amendment is the formula for true patriotism;  a  prescription to non-violently oppose  monopolistic isms, and isms of all sorts. It is the way in which change is conducted without hostile confrontation. In this way, the First Amendment is the very definition of patriotism.

There are five distinct parts to the First Amendment. These five distinctions spell out five separate rights of freedom, and five stages essential to patriotic action:  think, seek, speak, stop, act.  

These five rights and actions of patriotism were formulated by the original patriots through their diplomatic, rhetorical and martial experience against the forces of the most powerful empire the world had known. In fact, the Bill of Rights was originally proposed as a measure to appease the  Anti-Federalist  movement, which opposed extending the influence and authority of the U.S. federal government out of  concern  that the position of President  might  evolve into a monarchy –  which it has.

All other Amendments are straightforward and pertain to particulars, whereas the First Amendment is an amalgamation of many subjects because it is the explanation of patriotism, protected as an inalienable  right. Yet, throughout recent history, the individual rights described in the First Amendment have been coercively and institutionally stomped out, traded in for “security” from  some institutionally-conjured threats and  fear based assumptions.

Patriotism Defined

When individuals are run over on a large scale, it always begins with the failure to recognize and uphold  their First Amendment rights.

The First Amendment, the patriotic formula for the United States, was deciphered, enacted and scribed by our nation’s  original patriots. Those patriots understood at a fundamental level that, to be a patriot, one must question, communicate, speak out, stop and act. They also understood that,  to institute  patriotism into our  legal system  and ensure that the natural rights of the people are upheld  despite changing political climates – the primary motivation of any true patriot  –  the freedom to question, communicate, speak out, stop and act must be protected by law above all else.  These rights are more commonly known as the Five First Amendment Freedoms.

To be a patriot one must always question information in an unbiased manner, especially information provided by government (the employee of the people). When a subject arises that needs scrutiny or  correction, one must communicate with others (freedom of speech). The next step is to speak out in print or a loud voice to the public at large about the subject in question (freedom of press). If the subject continues to be questionable, one stops and ceases participation in protest with others (freedom of peaceful assembly). If questions are left unanswered, if the subject remains questionable, or if exploitation continues, then action is taken (freedom to petition government).

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. ~  Thomas Jefferson

To meet the requirements of a patriotic action, there must not be harm or violence done to others and nothing can be stolen, as exemplified at The Boston Tea Party or Big Steep. Essentially there must be no harm done to another. Actions can only be considered  remain patriotic as long as no harm comes to the liberty and wellbeing of others. One must always defend oneself if physically threatened; as provided in the Second Amendment. Self-defense to a legitimate threat is a primordial and lawful  action, unless one intends to make a statement like Gandhi in the face of institutional sticks.

Conversely, when the rights to free speech and free press are  used to say, score political points, create fear and misinformation, or  splatter insults, it’s no longer patriotism. If one uses the right to simply to insult, divide or manipulate others, it is no longer patriotism. If people use these rights, this formula for peaceful liberty, to instigate thought, community dialogue and progression, then and only then can  the use of these freedoms be considered patriotic.  Our government leaders would do well to remember that.

Patriotism and the First Amendment

According to the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

This Clause prohibits Congress from making laws that prohibit the free exercise of questions pertaining to the interpretation of God. It also provides that  government cannot  preference one religion over another, which legally  prescribes the concept of separation of church and state.

People have the right to question the world and the universe, any theory, any portion of reality and the interpretation of God herself, in whatever manner they see fit. People have the right to question any subject up to and including the interpretation of God through any religion or other discipline.  People have the right to question any subject, even established religious and institutional interpretations, and exercise individual interpretations of everything, even God. No individual shall face repercussion for their interpretation of God of  any other question.

Why is this important? The beginning to every invention, every story, development, action, indeed every institution (religious or  otherwise) began with questions. Questions concerning the specifics and generalities of God are the most rippling. When the law reflects the individual right to question religious and spiritual interpretations, then questioning all else is granted. No subject is above query  and no institution is above questions, even those of God.

“All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree.” ~  Albert Einstein

Everything changes and sometimes people lie.  The original patriots knew the power of questioning to the health of a society,  and as they drafted  these Amendments, perhaps over a cup of tea. “Who? What? Where? Why? When? And, how?” they asked.


“… or abridging the freedom of speech”

“Congress shall make no law” also applies to  stage two and each of the following stages of patriotism. These first two clauses make up what are called the “Religion Clauses” of the First Amendment. People can communicate with anyone, any of the answers they find, even those relating to the interpretation of God. People have the right to speak amongst themselves about whatever they want, including but not limited to religious, spiritual and atheistic questions, answers and interpretations of God and the universe, in any manner they see fit, without restriction or repercussion.  And  people have the right to speculate question or challenge any statement or  interpretation about God, or otherwise, delivered via an institution or individual.

The original patriots communicated in order to find answers when The Company monopolized tea. “This is who, what, where, why, when and how.” they said.


“or of the press,”

Individuals have the right to express information to any and all in any form of media, and can demand information of any and all publicly. Individuals are allowed to access and distribute any form of media to enable their public statement. Individuals have the right to publicly ask any question to any institution and disclose and distribute any answer, information, or the lack of it.  Individuals and institutions also have the right to question, interpret, research and report on the words and  actions of any other institutions or individuals, even government and those who claim to be “God’s representation on Earth”.

Institutions typically prefer partial truths, typically employing “spin doctors” to formulate and shape their version of the “truth” in the eyes of the public, while patriots seek the whole truth in all its ugly  detail and distribute it openly. Today institutions have latched onto their right to speak out and do so with wide platform, often with specific biases.  To speak out, this clause provides the legal framework for one to  be able to openly research and present information on any event, individual or institution, no matter how sacred or institutionalized.

The original patriots exposed the exploits of the powers-that-be.  They printed articles, editorials, political cartoons, questions, and stories revealing information. “The questions and answers must be known, here are some questions and some answers”, they expressed.


“or the right of people peaceably to assemble,”

People have the right to stop and gather with any number of other people in a peaceful manner, for any reason. People can publicly peaceably gather to worship any interpretation of God, or gather for no reason at all, whenever they want. Individuals and entire communities of people can stop, for any reason or no reason at all.

At the heart of  assembling peaceably is the desire to alter the status quo. In order to peaceably assemble, one has to discontinue normal routine (“strike”) and participate with others in peaceable action.  This was first done by the original patriots who  protested taxation without representation and all out Company monopolization. There probably was no tea and little heat. “We have asked questions and arrived at answers, and we cease support of the exploitation we see,” they announced.


“and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Every institution under the governance of the United States of America,  and the government itself, is accountable to the people and to the principles of the republic. This clause reflects that truth, protecting the right of the  people to hold any and every individual and institution accountable to its will, and to petition the action of those institutions accordingly.

Redress requires that a situation is declared; that a wrong needs to be set right. The grievance is the announcement of a problem; the redress is the removal of the problem.  Under this model, accountability is upheld; communications, gatherings and actions take place in petition of government until the problem is fixed, according to the will of the people. Government is  accountable to the people through the trinity of liberty – individualism, individual rights, and independent thinking.

The government itself may be  the cause of grievances, including its own branches,  and  the government can be petitioned  to hold any other individuals or institutions in its governance accountable to redress the people’s grievances.  If there is wrongdoing, people have the right to ask questions concerning all grievances of any institution and demand answers and solutions. Under the United States Constitution, government is an instrument of the people, not the other way around. Thus, every institution in the U.S.A. is subject to answer the questions of people and to address their grievances  If they do not get it, they have the right to stop and to act peaceably.

This was first done, without tea, in the cold, amid the peril of  the Boston Tea Party. “We’re mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore!”, they demonstrated.

Patriotism or Disobedience?

Throughout recorded time, oligarchical institutions – those where power is held by very few – have controlled, limited and restricted the five stages of patriotism in one way or another. The original patriots recognized this, and formulated the First Amendment by combining the timeless elements of individual empowerment over oligarchy – questioning, communicating, speaking out, assembling, and petitioning the government we employ. Individuals working together with other individuals, protected by  the First Amendment,  is powerful.

Today, our political and social reality  is dangerously in opposition to those  inherent rights protected by the First Amendment. In the 13 years  since the  Patriot Act effectively  invalidated  the  First Amendment – the original patriot act – we have seen  increasingly oligarchical, anti-individualistic controls implemented by government at will – theirs, not ours – and increasingly militaristic policing of those controls happening in our communities.

Meanwhile, exercising genuine patriotism through the actions of  free speech,  assembly and petition is  increasingly  labelled by government as “terrorism” and “civil disobedience”. People exercising those rights are increasingly prosecuted for such dangerous reasons as “failure to comply”  (the  very  crime of patriotism) and  are progressively treated  by government agencies as subversive (and portrayed accordingly by the media who facilitate their propaganda). And recently, government has threatened the  legal right of people to hold police accountable by recording  their unacceptable behavior on video.

Is this the will of the people? Or of an increasingly militant  government?

Government today has clearly overstepped the mark of its delegation. It  behaves as the master, not the servant, of people. And while government exerts  control not just over the processes of  redress available (ie. courts, congress), it  also exerts control through  manipulation of media over what  grievances are ever publicly discussed, and how. Meanwhile, true patriots continue to voice their  grievances of modern government and openly seek redress, as is their constitutionally  protected right, but the response of government agencies is often to further  exceed its authority, violating the  First Amendment rights of people to assemble —  throwing further fuel on the rising fire.

Enshrined  the Patriot Act 2001.  All for our own security, of course.

In such a political  climate, disobedience IS patriotism.  The First Amendment protects the right of people to  question the government’s  interpretation of its own constitutional powers, and those of its agencies, and to seek redress if they believe  they have a grievance.  So the question is…

Do you  have a grievance?

The REAL Patriot Act

Many interpret the First Amendment as the protection of their rights to worship and gather as they please, and as an assurance of the freedom of speech. But it is more than that.  The First Amendment  describes, prescribes and defines the role of patriotism in five parts.  It  is the very definition of patriotism. And it reminds us,  by its prominence in the U.S.  constitution,  that the  five elements of patriotism are  more than  just rights – they are the  natural actions  of  the truly patriotic.

One might interpret there to be broader legal application  described in the First Amendment than another, and  those hiding behind  the Patriot Act 2001 may presume to take away the freedoms it  enshrines…  but its intent is inarguable: think, seek, speak, stop, act.  

Each of these rights could stand alone, but like people together, they are more powerful combined.

The same universal formula applies now, as was applied in 1791.

The Complete Patriot’s Guide

The Complete Patriot's Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism

Ethan Indigo Smith’s book  The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism: Its Theory and Practice  is  an insightful exploration of  history, philosophy and contemporary politics of today’s heavily institutionalized society.

An inspiration for positive, peaceful individual action,  The Complete Patriot’s Guide  is pro-individual in its perspective and, although political, discusses our society and its institutions  from neither left-wing nor right-wing perspectives, exploring  metaphors and symbolism relative to the fictional work of George Orwell  through real history, philosophy and contemporary politics. Layered with insight, it is in part a literary exploration of the themes raised in  Orwell’s 1984, and provides theories for  individual and collective empowerment.

The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism  is available now on Amazon.

Previous articles by Ethan Indigo Smith:

About the author:

 The Failed Politics and Faulty Science of Climate ChangeActivist, author and Tai Chi teacher  Ethan Indigo Smith  was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity,  Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality,  meditation and a unique sense of humour.

Ethan’s publications include:

For more information, visit Ethan on  Facebook  and check out  Ethan’s author page on Amazon.


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