The Declaration of Independence , July 4, 1776
These were troubled times. The colonies were under a lot of pressure from the King of England and the leaders in America had had enough. So they wrote a document to make their case as to why it was necessary “…to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”
They recognized that “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” entitled them to a “separate and equal station” in the world. That there were self-evident truths: “…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…”. The Declaration goes on to say, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”.
They said all of this and more a lot better than I can so you should go read it yourself.
This document set the tone and the foundation for the Constitution which would come later. They understood that there is a power higher than man and that each of us, all individuals, have rights that no government can take away.
They also said governments are created to secure these rights, but only by the consent of the governed. Why?
These were men that were students of history. They had read the philosophers of the Enlightenment and had studied the world’s governments up to that time. They understood that individuals have unique points of view, needs and ambitions. They also knew when societies come together, that these unalienable rights of individuals would come into conflict. It’s human nature.
Governments, generally, are meant to assist in conflict resolution but in order to do so, power must be transferred to them and laws made.
Society needs to have clear rules formulated so that everyone understands what conflicts are and what the consequences will be if the law is violated. This is especially important when you consider an individual’s unalienable right to Life. An individual’s body is the most basic form of property, and clearly defined rules around property are essential for individuals to live together in society.
So why am I harping on all of this Declaration stuff?
If you don’t believe in a higher power there is no power above government.
If you don’t believe in unalienable rights, then all rights are arbitrary and are provided to you by the government (or not provided as they deem fit).
If you don’t believe that all individuals were created equally then government’s help is needed.
If you don’t believe that governments are instituted from the consent of the governed, then governments are instituted without the governed’s consent.
If you don’t believe in government’s role to protect your property with clearly defined laws, your laws won’t be clearly defined, the consequences of breaking them will be capricious and your property won’t be safe.
A slippery slope is started that will slide you all the way to the Democratic National Convention.
But we are not done yet.