In this election year, we are once again called to make a decision on what kind of country we want to have. Do we want to have a big government system that is quasi socialist or do we still value limited government and personal freedom that has been the hallmark of our republic since its founding.
Although we need to know what the candidates believe, we first need to decide what type of government philosophy we identify with. This will guide us on Election Day. When we know what our philosophy is, we become principled in our beliefs and we’ll know exactly where we stand on nearly every issue and with every candidate.
Our founders had to make that choice as well. They lived in a world that was ruled by monarchs and other forms of dictatorships, but were able to use democracy successfully in the colonies for 150 years, even while they were still under British rule. It was through that success that our Founding Fathers began the great ‘American experiment’ as it has been called.
The experiment began with the Declaration of Independence (see the first draft), written by Thomas Jefferson. The idea to sever from Great Britain and begin a new type of government came from radical ideas that were born out of the enlightenment period of the 17th century that emphasized a government by the people and for the people. The greatest influence on Jefferson was John Locke, an Englishman who wrote the Second Treatise on Government in 1690. Locke believed that natural law protected each person’s life, liberty and personal property.
Gifts from God
Natural law, as John Locke called it, is the natural state of man as God created him before there were any man-made government systems. And naturally, man has freedom and is not under another person’s power or governmental power. Through self-determination, he or she chooses what to do with their own property, which includes what they acquire through their labor, their ideas and their own person-hood. All are naturally each’s own property.
Of course in nature there is more than one person that exists. Each person may have liberty on their own, but that person can be stolen from, oppressed, enslaved, or even killed by another person or group. In order for each person to maintain their liberty and their property, a governmental system must be in place to create a peaceful society where each member is protected. This is government’s singular purpose and is naturally the only governmental system that would be agreed upon by each member, of course, with the exception of tyrants, thieves and murders.
But throughout human history, tyranny was the type of government that existed because of conquest and power and not by a free choice of society’s members. This is a system where the government or dictator owns all the property including a person’s labor, ideas, aspirations and even their life. There is no self-determination or private property. The people are subjects and slaves for the tyrant and for the society.
Our Founding Fathers chose to turn history on its head. They chose a system where the power was placed in the individual by granting him everything that God intended: life, liberty, private property and self-determination. Government was created to protect these rights that belonged to us naturally as gifts from God.
The American experiment has lasted over 240 years, but has methodically been losing ground to those who want to control the populous and commerce. We have long since left government’s singular purpose of protecting our God given rights of life, liberty and property and have shifted to a big government model that interferes with those natural rights.
Many in today’s society now use the federal government to confiscate property. For instance, if you are a big government lefty politician that craves power, then you’re demanding that the government, just like Robin Hood, take the property that belongs to others and redistribute that wealth to the poor and other constituents. The recipients of this redistribution are voters that can keep you in power. This is called theft and is not an American principle.
The left even debase the notion of liberty by using it so say that abortion is a personal choice about a women’s body that the government should not prohibit. But legalizing all abortions by masking it as liberty can only be done by denying the life, liberty, property and self-determination of another human being - a person who has no voice or power. Taking away another person’s God given rights is not an American principle and just like slavery must be rectified.
There are many more examples of our big government betraying its singular purpose by usurping our life, liberty and property to itself. Things can change, however, and we can make America great again by voting for candidates that want to revert power back to the people and who want to decrease the size of government.
It’s up to us to determine a politician’s philosophy on limited government or if their philosophy on government is really a version of socialism or communism. In order to know the difference, we need to become much more principled in what we believe as members in this great American experiment.