“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.” The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.
In order to understand much of the Constitution you must understand the difference between liberty and freedom. Liberty is the condition of independence. Freedom is the exercise of that independence in your thoughts, words, and deeds.
Our forefathers fought for liberty – theirs and ours. They fought for independence from the abusive and tyrannical government of Britain. That fight was intended to provide all Americans with the freedom to live their lives the way that each found most appropriate for themselves and that would maximize their happiness. If it made you happy to live in the wilderness, you could live in the wilderness. If it made you happy to farm, then be a farmer. If they won, you would be at liberty to exercise your freedom to the maximum extent possible so long as your freedom did not impinge on the freedom of others.
Once that independence was achieved, the Constitution was ratified to replace the Articles of Confederation. But, the original Constitution did not guarantee individual liberty. That guarantee was added in what we refer to as the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
The Constitution does not grant any rights to anyone. What the Constitution does do is guarantee that our rights will not be arbitrarily and capriciously violated by governments within the United States. That includes local, national, and federal. How does it accomplish that?
The purpose of the Constitution is to limit government. That limitation is accomplished through the establishment of standards by which the function of government – at all levels – can be measured. Where a government action is deemed to exceed the authority delegated to it under the Constitution, government is to be forced, if necessary, to back down.
Most people cannot handle personal responsibility. They do not accept responsibility for their own actions much less for their own decisions. Unfortunately, that is precisely what liberty is about – being personally responsible. True liberty requires that we accept the results of our choices. True liberty requires that we deal with the consequences of those choices. This is not to argue that those who need help should not receive what they need. It is to argue that where someone has made bad choices and is suffering the consequences of those choices they are also at liberty to rise above those circumstances.
So, too, does minimal government require personal responsibility. Government does not exist to assist the individual. Government exists to perform certain and specific duties and to ensure the liberty of citizens. That’s it. The rest is up to us. That is not to say that assistance should not be offered. It is the mechanism by which we offer that assistance.
Those who believe in being slaves to government have infiltrated our culture and society to such an extent that they have, repeatedly, ignored the Constitution to attain their goal of government control over all aspects of our lives.
Stop fearing your liberty and freedom. Use that liberty and freedom to improve your life and to help others learn to do the same.