Don’t Be Too Willing To Give Up Freedoms That Have Been Earned The Hard Way
As we celebrate our nation’s 246th birthday, and as we find ourselves coming out of a year of government-imposed shutdowns in the face of a global pandemic, it would be wise for we Americans to reflect upon whether we have maintained the political philosophy the founders fathers knew was essential for our continued independence.
Upon leaving the convention at which the Constitution was written, Benjamin Franklin reportedly was asked by a woman what type of government had been established. “A republic — if you can keep it,” Franklin replied.
Too many Americans consider ours to be a democratic form of government. Though it never was intended as such, events for several decades have taken it in that direction.
Pure democracies are governed by the will of the majority of the people — even if it infringes upon the rights of the minority.
Republics use the people’s elected representatives to make decisions — in the context of safeguards against minorities’ rights being taken away.
Even as we Americans insist we are defending minorities’ rights, we often bow to the voices of those who, spurred on by demagogues, demand we follow the dictates of the crowd. We call it political correctness, or we do it in the name of safety and security. Too often, it means we crush liberties for what we insist is “the greater good” — something we have experienced in droves over the past year.
Our founders understood the folly of that. There is no “greater good” without liberty, they recognized.
Safeguards for individual freedom the founders built into our Constitution and Bill of Rights are under siege. Governors across the country took on massive emergency powers over the past year that stripped many people of their individual freedoms — all in the name of “safety.”
And unless we defend those freedoms, they will be lost. Government has shown an unwillingness to cede the power over our lives it has been accumulating over the past few decades. That infringes on our freedoms to essentially be left alone.
As we celebrate Independence Day, and we gather to watch fireworks and enjoy each other’s company, let us neither forget nor take for granted the freedoms we have — the freedoms that Americans died to protect — and, in the future, not be so willing to give those freedoms away.