The American Idea, guest post by Chris Wright
Too many Americans have deliberately been cut off from their heritage and no longer understand the set of ideas the country started with, or why the Founders’ ideals remain important today. Understand these ideas and you will know more about your country than many politicians or college graduates. These ideas are simple to grasp, yet more powerful than the mightiest army.
America is a special place. It’s the only country in all of human history founded on an idea – individual liberty. The Declaration of Independence states that you have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are not something the government gives you. As an American, you are born with these rights. Some say these rights come from nature, and call them ‘natural rights’. Others say they come from God, and call them ‘God-given rights’. The point is, your rights don’t come from government, or even the Constitution.
What the government cannot give, it cannot take away. This is the true meaning of the American Revolution, and it was truly astounding. For the first time ever, a government was instituted to protect the rights of the people, not the privileged few or those who would set themselves up as your rulers or benefactors. The purpose of government is to protect your rights. In fact, the Founders instituted a system of limited government so that your rights could never be taken away from you. Not only do your rights not come from government, the truth is that government’s rights come from us.
In America, we live under the revolutionary idea that we the people are sovereign. The federal government has only the enumerated powers expressly set forth in the Constitution. It has only the powers We the People give it. Under the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, all remaining rights and powers belong to We The People and to the states, not to the bureaucrats or politicians in Washington. The Founders were very far-sighted in instituting limited government. They knew that every now and then a charismatic demagogue would come along singing a siren song about how much the government could do for you if only you would surrender your liberty. The Founders knew that somebody would always want to be King George and that the inevitable tendency of government is to grow its power and expand its reach over the people.
The system of checks and balances the Founders created will, if faithfully observed, forever prevent a tyrant or tyrannical government from emerging and ruling the land by personal whim or decree. The Founders’ ideas are in accord with human nature and have stood the test of time. They are superior to all political theories that went before (might makes right, let them eat cake, the divine right of kings), and to every political ideology that has come along since (various forms of collectivism which destroy individual liberty and turn the clock back to when We the People were subjects, not sovereigns).
Individual liberty is the only political idea that is humane, compassionate, and sustainable in the long run. So, as you celebrate Independence Day, remember the true meaning of this occasion and why we in America truly have cause for celebration. We the People are free – we live in a free country where the people are sovereign – and, sadly, that has not been the case for most human beings who have ever walked the earth. Congratulations, you have just graduated. Now go in liberty and cherish every minute of it. Use your freedom wisely; it’s a great gift. And don’t let anyone denigrate the magnificence of the Founders’ ideals, confuse you with sophistry, or take away your liberty without a fight. It’s your heritage and your foundation as an American living in this special place we are so incredibly fortunate to call home.
Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)
~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.