Note: This was adapted from last year's July 4th post and modified to reflect the recent news. The message is even more relevant this year.
As Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention, he was reportedly asked by a lady, "well doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" He famously replied, "a republic, if you can keep it.”
Today, more than ever before, is a time to celebrate the roots of our founding – and resolve to preserve this republic as a paragon of liberty that we may bequeath to future generations. As our nation comes under attack from the forces of tyranny within, we must reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of our founders and founding documents.
How unique that we celebrate our national holiday not on the day of our government's founding, nor the day on which the Constitution was ratified, but on the day we became independent from tyranny and an over-imposing government. On this day 236 years ago, the Continental Congress adopted the 1338-word Declaration of Independence in which we declared, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
236 years later, we find all of our founding principles under assault. Many prominent political leaders in both parties seek to destroy our free markets, infringe upon our personal liberties, and abrogate our social values. Unfortunately, they have accrued a high level of success.
Almost every American is involuntarily subservient to the federal government for his or her retirement security and healthcare. Over 46 million people, and one in four children, rely upon government for food stamps. By 2014, under the new Obamacare mandates, an estimated 79 million Americans will be enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. This culture of dependency, an anathema to our spirit of independence, has saddled us with over $1 million in debt and unfunded obligations for every American taxpayer.
Last week, we experienced perhaps the most pungent assault on our liberties since the founding of our country. One unprincipled man in a black robe, in a rambling, incoherent, internally contradictory, and politically motivated opinion, granted Congress the right to tax anything we do or anything we decline to do. The power to tax is the power to destroy, and the Chief Justice of the United States just gave the forces of tyranny an avenue to destroy anything. We have deviated so far from the founding principles that some in the “liberty-minded community” are applauding the Court’s restraint of government’s power to regulate inactivity, even as the same Court validated the government’s power to regulate any and every activity.
The same week that the Court placed the boot of the government on the collective necks of the American citizenry, its members vitiated the sovereignty of our states and restricted their power to deal with illegal aliens. At the very core of a declaration of independence is a pronouncement of sovereignty of the citizenry. A nation that has no borders is destined to a precipitous demise.
What sort of progress and enlightenment has this government – that has deviated from its founding principles – bestowed upon us?
Due to indomitable government intrusion in our lives, we have regressed as a society. Some of the most basic products, such as light bulbs, shower heads, plastic, various construction materials, and paper bags are facing extinction. Onerous government regulations have cost us $1.75 trillion in wealth annually, and an incalculable amount in personal liberty. That's some return for our $15.8 trillion investment.
What liberals lack in appreciation for our economic and personal liberties, they compensate with their alacrity for libertine social values – ones that are antithetical to the Judeo-Christian values our nation was founded upon. For years, these same forces of government tyranny have subjected us to an 'everything goes' civil society of moral decadence. They have eradicated God from the public square. Now, for the first time in human history, they are advocating we redefine marriage; the most fundamental source of stability for the American family. It’s gotten so bad that even the Republican Party has no interest in fighting the assault on our values.
This undesirable culture has inflicted incorrigible damage on the foundation of our civil society. According to a recent study, the percentage of married households with children has dropped from 44.3% to 20.2% since 1960. Concurrently, over 40% of all children born in the U.S. are born outside marriage! According to the Heritage Foundation, nearly three-quarters of all welfare payments are sent to single-parent families. Additionally, the deterioration of marriage, along with the culture of death and immorality, has brought forth a society that is largely insouciant to the over 1 million babies that are murdered every year.
No economic policy alone can save us from the vices that plague our civil society. If we fail to recognize the laws of the Creator – and defend life, we will lose our liberty and pursuit of happiness as well.
The only way we can preserve the ideals of liberty expressed in the Declaration of Independence, is if we remember that there is a Creator who has endowed us with those rights. Otherwise, the vacuum left by Godlessness will be filled by the religion of such big government desiderata as socialism and environmentalism. Senator Jim DeMint succinctly explained the correlation between social values and limited government at last year's Values Voters Summit like this:
“When you have a big government, you’re going to have a little God. You’re going to have fewer values and morals, and you’re going to have a culture that has to be controlled by the government. But when you have a big God, you’re going to have a responsible and capable people with character to control themselves and lead their own lives. And you can’t have a little God that promotes freedom and allows people to keep more of their own money, and a government that’s not bankrupt.”
It’s not too late. We must party like it's 1776 by redoubling our efforts to defeat Obama in 2012. We must elect only those who espouse all of the virtues expressed in our founding documents, lest we embark on an era in which we forget our independence and are forced to celebrate a national Dependence Day.