Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bold, Daring, Illegal

"Volunteers" at Colonial Williamsburg
As we prepare to celebrate our independence as a nation, it may help us to remember what our founders were doing.  These subjects of the king of England had become so dissatisfied with the king’s policies that they decided to break away from the kingdom, to become independent of it.  The feeling of discontent was so intense and widespread among these colonies that masses would join in the revolt, many putting their lives on the line, as soldiers, spies and sympathizers.

 From our perspective these rebels were brave souls, fighting for freedom.  But in their day, they were law breakers.  They refused to submit to authority, and chose to fight against it.  For many, they recognized an Authority higher than the king, and chose rather to submit to Him.  The logical argument presented in the Declaration of Independence begins with God, the One who gives rights, rights that governments cannot legitimately take away.

The colonists wanted to pass down to their children a land governed with legitimate authority.  If  the colonists refused to take a stand, the abuses would continue and increase.  The government, drunk on its own power, would keep taking more and more freedoms away.  This is a natural progression of all human governments.  So the colonists broke the law of the king to institute “new guards,” who would govern merely to preserve the rights conferred on all humanity by God.

The Framers
The new guards are described in the United States Constitution.  It gives the government limited, enumerated powers.  It provides checks against abuses of authority.  It prevents any one person or group from hijacking the country.  It assumes that power corrupts, and provides specific means of mitigating that corruption.

Government that takes more and more power is government that fits the pattern of history.  It is the kind of government our Framers abhorred and took up arms against.  It is the kind of government they sought to make illegal in America. 

Here’s to freedom!