Setting up the Holiday and Invoking Our First Principles for the Common Good
By Brian R. Wright
Recently, while in attendance at the Oakland County, Michigan, meeting of Campaign for Liberty (C4L), master of ceremonies, Dennis Marburger, stated that the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence occurred on August 2, 1776. I had forgotten this little acknowledged fact, but truly this is a significant day. Because this is when those in the assembly actually put their ‘lives, fortunes, and sacred honor’ on the line. Perhaps more important to ‘the course of human events’ than political independence from England is the Declaration’s famous statement of what have become known as American First Principles—and, further, the foremost universal statement of INDIVIDUAL rights:
Equality before the law
Natural rights of the individual
Government’s sole purpose to secure these natural rights
Government’s powers deriving from the People
People’s direct authority to monitor and control government, even dissolve it
AKA American First Principles. These are the foundation of all valid laws for ‘our people’ … and by extension any other peoples willing to assert such inherent natural rights. [For ‘rights’ one may read ‘fundamental freedoms.’ I’m not going to quibble over terms. Like Ayn Rand, I’ll stipulate that a right is the moral claim of “freedom of action in a social context.”] The point is our individual rights—no matter who we are—are inviolable and we the people are in charge of all public servants whose job is solely to secure these rights. They screw up, we step in… it is a legal necessity and, indeed, we are morally and civically obliged to do so. Continue reading →
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that the people preserve the spirit of resistance? The remedy is to set them [the rulers] right as to the facts…. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The full quote from Mr. Jefferson can be found in a number of places on the Web, but be advised as you fire up your browser: Homeland Security will probably be looking over your shoulder. Strange how far we’ve gone down Tyranny Road without so much as a peep from the general nonlibertarian population—perhaps such lack of resistance is explained by another Jeffersonian passage:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
While working on my Good Neighbor Libertarian presentation …
… for the Liberty in Action seminar put on by the Libertarian Party of Michigan this coming Saturday, I came upon the need for that key phrase at the end of Patrick Henry’s rousing speech on the floor of the Second Virginia Convention, in Richmond, Virginia, on a bright spring day on the eve of Revolution:
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”
Is it? And I was thinking of it in connection with how many, if not most, Libertarians and citizens seem to entertain the comforting delusion that we haven’t crossed the line into full-spectrum federal tyranny (with state and local government abdication). Well, we have, and it’s a useful stirring of the blood to read Mr. Henry’s words—substituting ‘globalists’ or ‘US predatory government’ or ‘Pod Lizards’ for the ‘British imperial forces.’