Will future generations look back on our current July 4th festivities and lament that we didn’t grasp that the republic was gone?
Or will they celebrate that we were energized to restore the republic?
Our country was established in 1776 on the premise that we all are endowed “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.”
The Constitution created a government of limited and enumerated powers, checks and balances, and federalism to protect individual liberty not only from threats foreign and domestic but also from the greatest threat to liberty of all: government itself.
The result: America went from a rural backwater to the richest and most innovative country the world had ever known. This was because individuals were free to pursue their own dreams and to make their own lives through their own productive efforts.
Political liberty was spiritually liberating, opening minds to the fact that they could flourish, that material poverty and personal impotence need not be their lot. Millions of immigrants came to these shores seeking that liberty. They both partook of and contributed to the culture of self-ownership, empowerment, and personal responsibility.
Even up until a few decades ago, most supporters of the welfare state still held that individuals should generally run their own lives, that property rights and free markets should be protected by government. They simply believed—mistakenly—that government would need to step in to provide a safety net for unfortunates who might fall through the economic cracks or to rein in businesses that get too big and threaten competition.
Today, the elites who dominate the Democrat Party, media, and academia believe government should be all-powerful and that they, the elite, should direct our lives. While some give lip service to empowerment, they in fact believe that most individuals are incapable of running their own lives. This is not idle rhetoric. It is a description of what motivates these elites. And it points to the dark place they are leading us.
As the scope and power of government grows, every aspect of our lives and our every choice become a matter of political conflict—what we eat, how we educate our children, what we can plant in our gardens, and when our children can run a lemonade stand. Political power and pull rather than productive achievement become the coin of the realm, determining who gets what. The result is the ugly, crony system of today.
But there is pushback because the American spirit is still alive.
Today it is not only Tea Party activists who are skeptical about government. Political independents and many young people have seen the promises that government can radically improve our lives coming to naught.
Within the GOP there is now a civil war. Libertarian and limited government Republicans, who want to roll back government, are exerting their influence. They are challenging establishment Republicans, who want to keep the welfare state, just tweaking it to make it more efficient, and extreme social conservatives who give priority to actually limiting personal liberty.
In recent decades we’ve see the rise of new entrepreneurs who created the information and communications revolution and are now sparking revolutions in other areas as well—robotics, nanotechnology, genetics, 3-D printing and manufacturing, life extension, and much more. These individualists understand the power of human reason to change the world for the better. They love and take pride in their work. And they want to be free to pursue their own dreams and to make their own lives through their own productive efforts.
They manifest the best of the American spirit. They represent hope. They offer a political opportunity for those who want to restore the republic that is necessary if these entrepreneurs are to continue to achieve in the future.
In the past, the liberty in America offered millions the opportunity to win for themselves prosperous and fulfilling lives. The country offered a powerful vision of hope for all of a world as it can be and should be.
Today, we still have the opportunity to reclaim for ourselves that liberty, which will secure the thanks of future generations, if only we seize the moral high ground and fight for the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness set down in the Declaration.
What are Rights? Video with William R Thomas
The Volcker Rule and the Two Americas William Thomas and Edward Hudgins
Completing the American Revolution David N. Mayer
Let's Declare the Fourth of July a Tax-Free Day! Edward Hudgins
What Unites America? Unity in Individualism! Edward Hudgins
What Is An American? Edward Hudgins
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.