But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
— Declaration of Independence
It is commonly understood that a racket is “a usually illegitimate enterprise made workable by bribery or intimidation.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1991). Upon reflection upon more ancient sources, for the purposes of this suit, it is defined as a systematic tyranny which hinders natural rights and does so by extortion for a profit. That profit might be for money, but may simply be to profit one by bolstering one’s pride, position of power, or security of position. Profit takes many forms. In the Bible, many of the examples of ‘systematic hindrance of rights’ revolve around the behavior of kings.
In the biblical example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego we see their right to freedom of religion was hindered by the tyranny of King Nebuchadnezzar. His orders were systematically applied to everyone; everyone’s rights were hindered no matter who you were. “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:6. When King Nebuchadnezzar found out about these three who would not bow down and worship his golden idol, the king was full of “rage and fury” against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Daniel 3:16. And when the three were cast into the fiery furnace, God was in their midst to preserve them. Bewildered, the king “said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:24-25. Tyranny against freedom of worship is clearly not tolerated by God. When the hindering of natural rights is applied systematically, universally unto all, it is clearly an evil that is in need of correction. In this example God himself stepped in to correct this injustice. In this example we also see the element of profit involved, the lust for total power over others. In this case, the King stole people’s freedom of life and worship, and placed a ransom on their lives, and that ransom was to give up their freedom of religion.
Another clear systematic hindrance of right is the example of King Herod who when the wise men came looking for the infant Jesus to worship Him, they met with Herod. Herod asked them that when they find the infant to bring him word that he might also come to worship Jesus. After the wise men were warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod:
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
Here to profit himself, to try to ensure his continued position as king, Herod universally slaughtered all of the children under two years old. It was a systematic hindrance of the right to enjoy life embodied in the form of genocide.
Contemporarily, when a government or agents of government (whose power is bestowed by the people) act to systematically hinder rights, the principle is the same. Such tyranny, such despotism it is the responsibility of individual people, or people acting together, to correct.
Thomas Jefferson said that “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories” Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14 (1781). When government servants fall into a degenerate state of tyranny, when they establish a racket for their benefit, it is proper for people to correct the wrongs against them and ensure that such systematic deprivations will not occur with others, nor in the future either.
Like the kings of the bible, those involved in intentionally constructing a systematic tyranny, intentionally fortifying it, and/or maintaining such a tyranny over the people to hinder their rights may do it for a profit which is not monetary. It may be to nurse their personal insecurities, it may be to establish a given policy more strongly, it may be to fortify their job security, it may be simply to experience the exercise of totalitarian power, or to bolster one’s pride in such an accomplishment of domination. Whatever the profit, whatever the motive is actually irrelevant, what is relevant is the systematic hindrance of rights, the systematic robbery of rights in which a natural right is universally hindered, or even universally held for a ransom by thieves.
Under such “absolute Despotism, it is [the people’s] right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government [agents], and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Declaration of Independence.