The Question

When contemplating the application of government rules, the overarching and most important consideration of the governing should be whether these rules make the governed more free or less free. 

America’s Founding Fathers innately understood the concept of freedom, documented it in the Declaration of Independence, and enshrined its protection in the Constitution. After all, they had declared war on the most powerful nation on the planet and fought against impossible odds to secure the freedom of the new nation they had founded. They understood the difficulty of winning this freedom and realized the difficulty of keeping it given human nature. Before they were Americans, they were British subjects, and many were not prepared to renounce their loyalty to the Crown. Among those who grumbled about being taxed without representation, many were unprepared to actually fight for the freedom they complained about not having. History remembers a group of local militia gathering in Lexington and Concord as a show of force to the British regulars marching upon the towns to quell the populace and restore order. It fails to accurately remind us that not all supported this militia group and many who were called failed to appear at the appointed time when the Revolution began.

Their cause remained uncertain for a long time and many were reluctant to join because they rightly feared the consequences of being on the losing side. It fell to those who valued freedom over their own lives to do the heavy lifting in this fight. It is all too easy to look back from our positions of comfort and easily discount the hardships faced by the Founding Fathers as events from the distant past. With our faced-paced interconnected lives, where multiple forms of entertainment are literally at our fingertips, we rationalize that they had nothing better to do than fight for freedom. The truth is that they had families and worked hard to provide a living. They gave up what meager comforts they had to fight for a cause greater than their solitary existence.

Successive leaders of this new nation hewed closely to the Constitution and America prospered as her citizens were free to pursue their happiness as the Declaration of Independence proclaimed. As the Revolution receded into the past and its participants faded from the scene, our leaders began to cast about for ways to improve efficiency and began to stray from the Constitution. This effect became more pronounced as America entered the Twentieth Century and accelerated as wars, economic depressions, and youthful exuberance strained our resolve to remain independent and weakened our ability to resist the lure of government protection. Our politicians curried favor with the electorate to win office, and aggrieved groups realized the path to power in order to construct their vision of Utopia.

We find ourselves helplessly watching a president who tramples on the Constitution to exercise actions that leave us stunned in their breathtaking distance from Constitutional principles. Those who would construct Utopia can only achieve their vision by forcing the rest of us to subscribe to their demands. Our freedom must be infringed to realize their dreams. We are led along the path to slavery by promises of fairness and security, just as our Founding Fathers warned. You see, their primary concern was whether their actions made us more or less free. In contrast, our current president concerns himself with whether his actions bring him closer to his dream of coercing us into streamlining our existence to suit his desires without a care as to our freedom.

As we cast about for new leaders, we should endeavor to discover if their primary concern is to determine if their actions make us more or less free. We, as the inheritors of those who died to establish this new nation, conceived in liberty so that it should never perish from the face of the earth, are responsible for demanding that our government respect the fact that it derives its power and legitimacy from we the people. Our leaders should be held to the standard that they consider as paramount the importance of determining whether our laws and regulations make us more or less free. Anything less dishonors the memory of those who fought so hard and sacrificed so much so that we might live as free men and responsible citizens.

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