What will Liberty look like in 2014?
And no, it’s not a car.
Liberty is something we often hear about, but isn’t exactly a topic of discussion at dinner parties. If we don’t really know what liberty is, how will we know when it is taken away, or if it is being taken away? Unfortunately, it often takes tyranny to make liberty more precious.
The purpose of liberty is to allow human life to flourish. Are we flourishing in California and the rest of America in 2013? What will liberty look like in 2014?
Are Americans prepared to fight for liberty?
Government serves the people
John Locke, a 17th century English philosopher and physician, regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers, said government is morally obliged to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property. He explained the principle of checks and balances to limit government power. He favored representative government and a rule of law. He denounced tyranny. Locke insisted that when government violates individual rights, people may legitimately rebel.
Locke said the only legitimate governments are those that have the consent of the people. Therefore, any government that rules without the consent of the people can, in theory, be overthrown.
These views were most fully developed in Locke’s famous “Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government.”
Locke said that if, either through an abuse of power or an impermissible change, these governing bodies cease to represent the people and instead represent either themselves or some foreign power, the people may–and indeed should–rebel against their government and replace it with one that will remember its trust.
“All men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man,” said Locke.
What Locke identified are the three but interconnected keystones of a society of free men: Liberty, Rule of Law, and Legislative Power by consent of the governed.
The people work for the government
Americans are burdened by a labyrinth of government policies, procedures, rules and regulations. Our federal government, once limited to basic core functions, now dominates virtually every area of American life. States, local governments and municipalities, and private businesses are increasingly overwhelmed by federal programs and influence. And as government expands its influence, our liberties recede.
The Left has been engaged in a century-long attack on the first principles of America, the Constitution, and the culture that supports liberty and freedom. However, the Left, steeped in ideology and control, always eventually oversteps, and has done so once again. The recklessness of government, and the arrogance of officials, appear to have finally awakened a sleeping giant, in a nation that has been too long asleep. Many Americans have been jolted awake and are beginning to recognize the imperative to save our Republic.
Compared to the Founding era, more and more power is now being centralized in the national government. Today, for example, many policies that affect local public schools are made in Washington. As creeping centralization slowly overcomes the Constitution’s federal design, the national government has begun to restrict the freedom of religion that is an indispensable element of the American founding.
The Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, is under assault. First Amendment speech rights are being challenged by Congress. Some members of Congress want to limit the definition of the press to only those who work for large, established news outlets. They want alternative media and bloggers quieted. Yet the First Amendment is very clear: Congress cannot interfere with an individual’s religion or speech. It cannot restrict a citizen’s communication with others to form community by worship, publishing, gathering together or petitioning the government.
President Obama and the Constitution
In 2013, President Barack Obama targeted Second Amendment gun ownership rights, and tried to impose sweeping federal gun control legislation. It failed, but he and the Left have made it very clear, they will attempt this again. Yet the Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to keep their own weapons.
One of the most egregious centralizations of power in U.S. history was ushered with President Obama’s health care overhaul in 2010. The law dictates what patients must buy, what insurance companies must offer, orders employers to provide health care coverage for employees, and and what the insurance must cover. Obamacare offers no way out, and no choice. This is a staggering loss of liberty.
Religious freedom under assault
“Religious freedom requires that the government does not interfere with religious faith and the charitable works it inspires,” the Heritage Foundation explained. “If a government is truly limited, friction with religious institutions and individuals will be rare. Of course, occasionally, tensions between faith and state may arise even under a limited government. The Founders counted on these tensions to keep the state in check.”
While we still have religious freedoms in America, the Left continually wages attacks on religion, and specifically Christianity. And they do it legislatively.
Attacks on the Boy Scouts of America are based on the Scouts’ inclusion of religion in their scouting practices and oath.
Public schools across the country are no longer allowing school facilities to be used by groups with religious affiliation.
Catholics have come under assault for standing their ground on the Obamacare contraception mandate. Religious employers are going to be forced into providing contraception, abortions, and sterilization procedures to their employees.
A judge recently ruled that a bakery owner violated the law when he refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
As government grows, liberty decreases
It was Thomas Jefferson who warned, “The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases. The natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild, and government to gain ground.”
Jefferson also had plenty to say on liberty: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
What will you do to save and restore liberty in 2014?