Two of the most joyous stories in history -- of lasting joy -- are the story of Christmas, and the story of liberty and freedom. I celebrated the story of Christmas in Joy To The World -- Part 1. This is the story of Freedom.
Thomas Jefferson may have said it better than anyone before or since, in The Declaration of Independence:
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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 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.
This passage in The Declaration of Independence represents some of the fundamental principles from The Age of Enlightenment, but in itself does not specify any particular form of government. That came later.
Prior to the implementation of The Constitution of the United States, few governments had any written specification that enumerates the powers of government, nor any Bill of Rights. Subjects lived in fear of what the government might do to them (so rarely do they think of what the government might do for them). The constitutionally enumerated powers is the list of things the government does for us -- because we authorize it (or ask it) on our behalf, so that we can mind our own business. The Bill of Rights lists a few of the things that no good government would ever do to us.
The Constitution represents one of the first attempts to standardize liberty and justice for all. Being written down in the form of a contract, in plain English, any literate citizen can read and understand what it says, and what it means. Consisting of 4543 words, a person can read it in one evening. ObamaCare, by contrast is approximately 2.8 million words, and counting. Do you have any fear that some of those words might affect you adversely? It certainly does not fill me with joy!
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. ~ James MadisonYa think? The sheer number of bureaucracies that will spring up to implement this ObamaCare monstrosity will dwarf the EPA, which is one of our more oppressive and unconstrained bureaucracies.
The best way to reduce fear is to give people more options, more control over their own lives. When are we the most fearful? When things are going out of control, like stepping on the brakes on an icy road, careening towards a fiscal cliff. When are we the most joyful? When we manage to stop without flying into the abyss. Of course, there are many things in our lives that we can't control, but government needn't be one of them.
I used to think The Constitution would protect me. It will, but only if We the People insist on it. That hasn't been happening lately. The Constitution can't uphold and defend itself. The American form of government has constitutional protections on our individual rights. Having blown right past the enumerated powers, our government is now eating away at the fringes (infringing) on our Bill of Rights.
I fear that too few voters know what it means to live in a free country. In other words, they have no idea what the difference is between being a citizen and being a subject. If we hope to restore this nation to its full potential, we classical liberals must teach the next generation about the joy of self-determination and individualism.