A wise monk once said, “It so happens that because we have freedoms there must be a choice and one must consciously will to do good. You cannot simply be good because someone tells you to be good. Sooner or later in your freedom you must actively choose good or else it does not become part of you.”
The history of individual freedom has been a bumpy road since the beginning of civilization. For the most part, man has lived with the fear of persecution, domination, tyranny and abuse from monarchies, tyrants and dictators. This cycle changed 250 years ago when the Founding Fathers of the United States of America challenged the way the world viewed the natural rights of men. They believed that all men are created with natural rights formed in them by a creative force greater than anything in the universe. These natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are shared by all men and women of every race and ethnicity regardless of how much influence, intelligence and capacity a man or woman possesses. These rights were formed in us the instant we came into being from a creative force we cannot comprehend. Because of this act, our natural rights cannot be taken from us, nor can we give them away to another man (inalienable rights i.e. cannot be sold, transferred or removed). No one may claim a right to rule others. We are the custodian of these rights and are fully responsible for what we do with them. The Founding Fathers deep understanding of history and the human condition enabled them to declare that our natural rights could only be fully realized in a free society ruled by laws not men.
“For there is no greater force within creation than free will of beings endowed with self-consciousness and spiritual intellect, so the misuse of this free will can have altogether terrifying consequences.” – Bishop Kallistos Ware
America didn’t become great because we dominated other countries with force. It became great because of the profound and unequalled idea that all of mankind is free. And with this freedom comes great responsibility, because each of us has the choice to live by principles that uplift us and our neighbor or live by principles that tear down and divide communities and that minimize mankind’s place in the world. This is why our Founding Fathers knew the future of our country required representatives who follow fundamental principles, such as: governing by the rule of law, respect for the proper role of government, and living with respect, humility, honesty and self-control.
Protecting philosophy against perversion is vital to the larger task of protecting human existence itself against perversion and tyranny.” – Eric Voegelin
Is spelled out in our Constitution, which is the foundation of our individual freedoms. Mankind’s natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are so intertwined with the original intent of our Constitution that the meaning of one cannot be changed without changing the meaning of the other.
James Madison in Federalist 47 summed up what the proper role of government means, “The preservation of liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct” “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, judiciary, in the same hands, whether of me, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
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