I realize as I interact with people that some of the constitutional principles I espouse are hard to understand because of their lack of a foundation concerning our establishment as a nation. The basics of what our country was founded upon is a simple yet powerful idea that has been forgotten over the imposing two centuries since we became a republic. It was a radical idea at the time, but it has been shown to be a powerful system to promote prosperity and liberty. These ideals were laid out for us in the Declaration of Independence. These were the basis for staging a revolution and creating a country. These are the bedrock ideals of the United States of America.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
This is the most important section of the Declaration of Independence. These 111 words tell everyone who reads them the reason we took the audacious chance to revolt, and it also speaks volumes about the problems we see from government on all levels today. These words have been forgotten by many people and are thus ignored by our lawmakers and those that do their bidding. These words are the foundation of what made this country great. The government that was created by our Constitution respected these words in its creation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident”
Many countries have existed throughout time, yet the simple truths that were listed in the Declaration were never espoused or implemented. Our country was the first. This statement reflects that the principles to follow are easily discernible to the author of this document and those who approve of it. It implies that the principles that follow can be understood by any who are exposed to them. In particular, it depicts the culmination of the many lessons that western civilization had taught over the centuries to any who would care to examine the facts. Our founders were such men.
“That all men are created equal”
This has a simple but profound meaning. It simply states that no one is born to rule over others. It was still a belief at the time that there were those among us who are born to be rulers. Ancestry and conquest were the vehicles used by most at the time to rise to power. Either born into the right family, anointed by God or being able to raise a sufficient force to conquer a nation were the criteria for becoming a ruler. This idea is rejected by this statement.
“that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
The most powerful statement of them all. Our rights are unalienable. They do not come from man. They do not come from government. They do not come from a piece of paper. Rights are a part of a person just like one’s heart is. These rights cannot be taken away or denied. They are yours to enjoy because they are part of you.
“that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
These are the most important and easily discernible of our natural rights. Life is at the top of the list because without life all other rights are moot. Life encompasses your body and the ability to implement actions that you want to take. Liberty implies that you are only restricted in your actions when they begin to impose on another person’s rights. All other actions by individuals are supported. Whom you associate with, whom you work for, what hobbies or other actions you take are for you, and you alone to decide. This is not a government matter. The pursuit of happiness is wrapped up in this thought also. Private property ownership is a key to that pursuit. Private property includes your physical belongings, land, and home, and your personal beliefs. Government should not be concerned with any of these ideals.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”
This is the reason we have government. The government exists to protect our rights. This protection extends to any entity that would infringe on them, foreign or domestic. Government is to be invoked only when a person’s rights are violated. There is no other reason we instituted the government that we did other than for this one simple idea.
“deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”
This is the most misunderstood or ignored passage of the document. Superficially, it means that we elect those people who will represent us in government. But the full meaning escapes most people. Its message is that our government can only have the powers that we the people already possess. That is what makes it “just.” If a person cannot act in a way toward another person then the government cannot act in this manner either. If we the people do not possess a right to do something how can we give that power away? It is not ours to give. If one person cannot do something, why do some think that a hundred, a thousand or a million people gathering together suddenly manifest this power? This is the root of many problems we face today.
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
This is the mandate indicating that the government is a creation of the people and when the people feel their government is opposed to the furtherance of liberty and prosperity, then it is the right of the people to form a new government. We are the rulers of government. not the other way around.
As we move away from these principles, we see the results— a more obtrusive and tyrannical government. A steady decline in prosperity and the freedom of the people to pursue their dreams. A government that continues to grow larger and appropriate more of Americans hard earned wealth and property is what we are witnessing. We see a government telling the people what to do. We see a government who consistently and often breaks the laws that created it.
Our government produces nothing. They simply take from one to give to another. That is blatantly wrong and must be stopped. Every building that they build, every person they employ, every staple, pen, or vehicle they use came from Americans pockets. Every high wage and pension they offer to government employees is paid for by Americans. Every dollar they give to a foreign country is paid for by Americans. Government produces wealth like a tick produces blood.
How long ago did government move away from the idea of protecting our rights and instead try to tell us how to live our lives? When did the free market get co-opted by government? When did we lose control of our money and the fruits of our labor? When did we acquiesce to becoming subjects of our government? When did we go from sovereign to subject?
The answers differ, but the fact remains— government at every level is to blame for the majority of problems we face as Americans. For our country to survive this must be addressed. This is not a question of “if.” This is a question of “when.”
We continue to ignore our founding ideals and the true problems we face as a nation. Instead we are diverted into endless talks about the symptoms of the true problems which lead us ever closer to our destruction. There is a central nexus to our problems— the unconstitutional and out of control government that burdens our lives. All levels of government that continue to make inroads into abridging our freedom must be reined in. To ignore this simple truth is to run away from any real solutions.
We were given the gift of liberty, but its maintenance is our responsibility. We, the people, are failing our country and future generations which will have to fight once again to realize what we were given by our forefathers. Education and action are what is needed— a coming together of the disparate groups that attack the symptoms of the problem yet leave the central rot in place.
Division is a tool of those looking to destroy our country. We need to stop with the endless distractions to the true problems we face and come together to solve them. A limited constitutional government would go a long way toward that goal. We may have differences between us, but there is a threat that dwarfs all of it and is the root of most of it— our own government. This is nothing new in history.
Hopefully, we learn the lessons of history and take appropriate steps to solve the problem. Many billions of people rely on us to do so.
Join me at Constitutional Cappuccino to get plugged into a website that is all about the education Americans need to move our country back to its proper trajectory. My new book “Patriot Ammo: The Words Behind Our Flag” is also available and teaches of our founding documents and principles.