“Unalienable Rights, that among these are … liberty.” Declaration of Independence
Liberty–from oppression by big government and nongovernment authoritarians–is vital. “Liberty and life are the gratuitous gifts of heaven. I shall certainly be excused from adducing any formal arguments to evince, that life, and whatever is necessary for the safest of life, are the natural rights of man. Some things are so difficult; others are so plain, that they cannot be proved” (Supreme Court Justice James Wilson, Lectures, delivered in the College of Philadelphia 1790-1791, volume II, part II, chapter 1, Lorenzo Press, 1804).
Liberty and self-reliance for independence are God’s gifts for man to claim. Liberty in the context of the Declaration of Independence and Preamble to the Constitution means freedom from government activity that would undermine the development of citizen self-reliance. Accepting promises of politicians who use the public treasury to provide things that replace personal responsibility is a trap. Paternalistic government services attract and enlarge an irresponsible voting block, that when reduced to dependence, cannot be reversed. Helping those who are incapable for reasons beyond their control is, of course, man’s duty and beneficial to all.
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever” (Thomas Jefferson: signer and principle author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, Notes on Virginia Q.XVIII, 1782, ME 2:227).
~ David Norris