by Jack Lee
Contrary to what most people assume is true the founded were not in love with democracy. For them, democracy was just a means to an end, a tool to be used wisely. What they were in love with was liberty and they went to great lengths to place constraints on democracy so it would not erode liberty. Our system of checks and balances illustrates this overriding concern for the protection of liberty, not democracy.
The dictionary defines liberty as follows: Freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control. Freedom from external or foreign rule; independence. Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice. Freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint. Now hold that thought as we read further.
“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.” This means the right to be free does not come from government and therefore it can’t be taken away by government, thus the term an “inalienable right.”
The term “we the people” refers to a government that serves at the [will] of the people. We do not serve the government, yet weigh that against the reality of today. Look at the pervasive over-regulation and heavy taxation that exists to the point that government has effectively seized your property and sells it back to you bit by bit, with every permit cost, every fee, and in every type of tax. We must ask permission from government to do almost anything. The alarming part is were are becoming a little too aclimated to asking permission for everything we do. This is epecially true in government where bureaucrats prefer CYA management as opposed to taking decisive action like a real leader.
Incorporated within the Constitution was the guarantee to all citizens that we will have the right to pursue happiness, we’re not guaranteed it, that is an individual’s challenge. Freedom means the opportunity to try to better oneself. Safety nets, affirmative action, wealth shifting, guaranteed minimum income, are all things outside the Constitution and they come at the cost of eroding liberty while strengthening the iron hand of government.
Democracy is a tool that is only as good as the hands that wield it. Democracy without constraints and in the hands of people without virtue is no better than communism, fascism or any other form of totalitarianism.