I meant to post yesterday on Independence Day but didn’t get a chance to organize my thoughts and write a post. On our country’s 234th birthday, I look at our country as one at a crossroads. I’m not sure the Founding Fathers would recognize the country they see today. They believed in freedom, the Judeo-Christian ethic, and limited government. Today, we see people who are conditioned to be dependent on government, moral relativism, and a bloated, out-of-touch government at all levels.
Freedom vs. Dependence
Our country’s founders wanted to be free. The signers of the Declaration of Independence mutually pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the principle that all are are created equal and endowed by our Creator to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Founders developed our founding documents on this deep desire to be free.
Today, we appear to be moving toward a desire for security and dependence as a nation. Our companies spend so much money lobbying for favors and advantage from the federal government. Many people desire womb-to-tomb social programs that remove responsibility for their personal well-being. I favor a sensible safety net provided by government and not-for-profits that provide long-term help to those least able to take care of themselves and temporary help to people who need short-term assistance to get through a particular situation.
The founders believed that free people left alone to pursue their personal dreams and desires would provide personally without a government who robs Peter to pay Paul.
The Judeo-Christian Ethic vs. Moral Relativism
The founders believed in a moral ethic based on Judeo-Christian values. The Great Commandment and the Golden Rule can sum up how our country’s founders thought how people should deal with one another. Actions viewed through the prism of these two Judeo-Christian precepts would identify which course was the right thing to do.
Today, we live in a culture that champions the idea that morality is a personal choice. This mindset espoused by many academics results in a society where the moral fabric unravels and “the ends justify the means.”
Our founders believed that Judeo-Christian values would provide order to a nation based on freedom and personal responsibility.
Limited vs. Out-of-Control Government
The founders believed that limited government “of the people, by the people and for the people” governs best. The Bill of Rights was one of the first documents to put limits on the government as opposed to the governed. They believed that the federal government should only perform the functions that the states could not perform individually. The primary function of the federal government was to protect the citizenry from enemies both foreign and domestic. The secondary function was to make sure that the playing field was level and everyone played by the same set of rules.
Today, we have out-of-control government at all levels local, state and, especially, federal. Bloated employee rolls protected by government workers’ unions at the local and state levels are crippling local and state budgets especially in today’s economic environment. Unfunded mandates passed by the federal government are bringing state governments to their needs. Out-of-touch politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington spend our money to buy votes. Bureaucracies at all levels regulate the activities of businesses and individuals to make it difficult to enjoy our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The founders would see government as currently implemented here and say this was never what they had in mind when developing our founding documents. Their minds and support would be with today’s “Tea Party” movement and its desire to get back to basic American principles and values.
What Can We Do
Many people question whether we are too late to get the horse back in the barn. Most representative republics throughout history have lasted about 200 years before devolving into tyranny. President Lincoln referred to America as the “last best hope on earth,” and President Reagan referred to America as a “shining city on a hill.” I don’t think it’s too late to save our country from itself, but we all must act quickly.
1) We must get back to our founding principles
We may see the founders as rich, white men wearing wigs, but these men had a vision of a country based on individual rights given by God not men. Freedom, personal responsibility and limited government have worked for America and can work again.
2) We need to clean house across all elective offices in government
The mindset that “he’s a bum, but he’s my bum” needs to be turned out. As citizens, we need to demand that all of our elective leaders work for us and to hold them accountable when they don’t. The founders never intended politics to become a profession. Many of the people in elective office today have never made a payroll or provided a product or a service valuable to our fellow man. We need to identify candidates from either party who agree with our founding principles and hold them accountable from election to election.
3) We must rein in the bureaucracy
If we elect people who agree with founding principles but don’t handle the bureaucracy, we will never be able to get back to constitutional government. Now is not the time for a scalpel when dealing with the size and scope of government. Our elective leaders must identify and eliminate full departments of government bureaucracies.
I love our country, its values, our history, and its diverse population. If we lose this country’s values and principles, I’m afraid that we will see another era in human history similar to the Dark Ages.
I hope everyone had a great 4th. I would like to hear your opinion in the comments below.