One of the reasons why our government has grown so massive and out of control is because the governed has struggled to understand the role government is supposed to play in our lives. Does government protect rights or create rights? Should government create laws to secure the people or secure our rights? Earlier today my blogging partner Right Hand Man posted the following comment on his Facebook page: “Within the last week I’ve had conversations with three different people who hold the unfortunate belief that our government is here to define and protect our freedoms. If this is the majority of Americans, then we’ve lost this republic already.”
One of our friends asked, “So what is the government for?” Below is my response to this question.
The founders believed that government should be shackled from infringing on our natural rights and they didn’t believe government could just make up rights. Because any right a government granted you they could also take away. This is why they limited the federal government to 17 enumerated powers. They sought a government that was limited in its power to infringe on the natural rights of the individual but was also strong enough to secure them for the people. Thomas Jefferson defined the role of government in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote;
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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
So the first things we need to understand about the role of government is that it is instituted to secure the unalienable rights of the individual. And that its powers are derived from the consent of the people. This clearly defines the role of government and its relationship with the people. This is why our founders shackled our federal government with our constitution. When laws or policies are enacted that contradict this basic premise then the government has become destructive of these ends and it is the right of the people to abolish it and institute a new government that will secure these individual rights. Ask yourself if our government is securing our unalienable rights or has it become destructive in regards to our rights. All you need to do is think about Obamacare…
Not enough people understand this. They see government as a force that is instituted to level the playing field or help the downtrodden by rewarding them with scraps shaved off the success of the wealthy. Government is instituted for one reason and one reason only; to secure the unalienable rights of the people. It’s not instituted to guarantee a minimum wage, a job, a retirement check, healthcare, or free stuff. It’s not instituted to detain or kill its citizens without due process or illegally search or seize property without probable cause. In order to achieve these goals the governed must consent to confiscating property or wealth and surrendering the very liberties the government was instituted to protect. And people struggle to understand this. This is why we are where we’re at as a people and why we’re losing our republic. It is what it is and until we decide to stand up for our rights as a people we will continue to lose out freedoms and our republic.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!