Many countries in the world have a problem with granting and protecting the freedom of their citizens. You see hundreds of stories of atrocities, wars and chaos in all forms of media throughout the world.
The war in Syria, the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, the fiscal crisis in Europe and the United States are some examples of governments ignoring their citizens. Whether a government is waging war, printing fiat money, or simply spending beyond its means it is the citizen who bears the cost of these follies with depreciated currency, loss of life and property or essentially loss of freedom.
We in the United States have a protective device that has to be devastated for freedom to disappear. We were fortunate that the founders of this nation had the foresight to draft a document that limited the government from infringing on the rights of the citizens as a Constitution with an enumerated Bill of Rights. You don’t find such a document elsewhere. You might find bits and pieces but enumerated rights with a document to clarify the role of government and explicitly verifying the existence of individual rights as the Declaration of Independence is unique and our ultimate source of retaining our freedom.
Having such a document is a necessary condition for freedom but it is not necessarily sufficient. Even as well written as the document is it can be misconstrued and modified to eventually destroy it. To protect that spirit of the document and the freedom that proceeds from its recognition and support due vigilance must prevail. This means a constant awareness of what any distortion of it’s meaning can do to jeopardize the retention and protection of individual rights. This requires an educational environment that is supportive and a political organization recognizing undermining the Constitution in any manner that may lead to a loss of liberty is counterproductive to living in a free country.
The Founding Fathers realized the dangers that could appear and tried to avoid them with such requirements as an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution which is proclaimed the Law of the Land. This axiomatic approach to placing the foundation for our laws delimits the force of decrees and “executive actions” that are subject to review and discard by the interpretation of the Supreme Court. Why did the Founding Fathers see a need for a balance of power with checks and balances? They knew too well how one branch could proceed to despotism. For what they inherited from history they did a mighty fine job. However as we are seeing their plan to limit the overreaching of government had some weaknesses that it is now up to our and later generations to refine and reinforce.
Intellectually we need to be more astute regarding the warning signs of movements and ideas that will lead to infringement of our rights. We need to identity those ideas that if carried to their logical conclusion can only result in a loss of freedom. For instance, the ideas that created the Soviet Union were ideas that collapsed a nation. When those ideas are reintroduced in any form they should be identified and rejected. We know that a welfare state is unsustainable and we know that the establishment of such a state produces a majority of citizens reluctant to reduce their government subsidies. This introduces a brand of politicians pandering to the constituencies that want government favors. These favors of course have to come from those who are producing wealth as the government has no wealth except for that which it confiscates. Thus freedom from want becomes a lack of freedom to produce and destroys the incentive to produce. This freedom is what generates a prosperous nation and any destruction of this freedom in the form of taxation and regulation affects the overall freedom of the nation.
Freedom is a rare commodity in the world of today. Most countries see the erosion of what freedoms they had disappearing under the auspices of protection and safety which is what the governments of today ( and yesterday) use as a call to arms. Governments recognize they are created to protect the citizenry but seldom recognize they are to protect individual rights. This is what the American government has had spelled out for itself and why the American system has survived as long as it has. To continue this tradition requires the recognition that attacks on the system can come from exterior or interior forces. To challenge these attacks is the job of every citizen who wants to live in a free country. Collapsing into apathy thinking someone else knows that my freedom is important to them is the mistake of all citizens who shockingly discover they have allowed themselves to become slaves. This also acknowledges that it is not enough to simply express an opinion or vote for a promising candidate.
The American Revolution brought out the men of conviction who exposed their lives their fortunes and their sacred honor for that which we are now endowed to protect and proclaim. We must not let them down, we must not let our future generations down and we must not let ourselves down.Tags: constitution freedom