“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The words are memorialized in the Declaration of Independence, written some 240 years ago. The sentiment they uphold has been on my mind of late and especially so as we approach Independence Day. You see, the bastards keep trying to wear me down. The forces who support statism resent those of us who labor to defeat it, and their resentment is toxic.
Between the activist press, Big Government politicians and special interest groups, I’m frequently told that people like me -- who passionately and consistently argue for the principles of freedom -- are the problem. That everyone would be so much happier, and government would operate smoother, if we were to moderate, reach across the political divide, and compromise.
We’re told we shouldn’t be so resistant to government programs, especially those created by people who say they’re with us. But they’re wrong. They’re wrong to insist we give up. They’re wrong to insist that we negotiate away pieces of our freedom. They’re wrong, especially if our our principles are to have any meaning.
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are inalienable rights, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration asserts, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
In addition to proclaiming the colonial separation from the British empire, the Declaration announced to the world that government exists for a specific purpose, and its purpose is constrained to secure inalienable rights. Nothing more. Government does not, or should not, exist to torment or trample on the people who allow that government’s existence. When it does, the people reserve the right to act to restore liberty. The British government broke that covenant with the American colonists, and therefore it was the duty of the colonists to separate.
Despite their sacristy, politicians often trade on inalienable rights, while claiming they’re advancing them. With a constant drumbeat, new regulations are passed, new programs implemented, new restrictions on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness imposed. Of course, that’s not how the politicians or the media frame it. They tell us government helps us by giving us health care or welfare benefit checks, by raising the minimum wage or restricting property rights.
This is not just a Washington, D.C. or California or Connecticut problem. It’s endemic here in Idaho, too. In recent years, Idaho politicians: have restrained liberty by raising taxes; restricted the rights of parents to make decisions for their children; created new barriers that prevent people from entering the profession of their choice; created special deals for some businesses and forced other businesses to pay for those deals; surrendered control to the federal government. And more.
Liberty generally does not avail itself of the opportunity to scream aloud when it’s under attack, or it’d be shouting its head off. That’s why it is up to each of us to keep the flame of freedom lit, to pay homage to the principles of liberty, not just on July 4, but every day, and to defend and protest and block efforts — any efforts — to diminish the same.
The Declaration of Independence exists, this country exists, because a group of daring, determined people took a chance on liberty and it paid off. This is the time of the year we specifically celebrate their courage and foresight. That’s why I’m determined to stay in the fight, because our inalienable rights, including life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, deserves our most passionate, unrelenting efforts.
This Independence Day, celebrate the reason for the holiday, renew your dedication to the principles, and vow to advance liberty every day, in your own way.
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