Declaration of Independence

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. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Equal Rights, Not Equal Things

                    The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the reminder that the government of the United States has the  responsibility to protect equal rights and should not be concerned about providing equal things.  The government should protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of its citizens and then leave them alone to succeed and fail on their own. 

                    The 2012 election for President of the United States was about getting stuff.  Half of American voters marked their ballets for the man who promised to take care of them and to give them stuff - stuff like health care, contraception, telephones, food stamps, and money to pay mortgages and fill gas tanks.  Rush Limbaugh said that they "voted for Santa Claus" - someone who gives them things without requiring any time, effort, or money from them.  This type of people are referred to as the "have nots" or "takers" or "looters" and are completely opposite of the type of people who are called the "haves" or "makers."  The Obama Administration gained control of the "takers" by giving them stuff, and the people are following the government's "gravy train."

                    The Founders of our nation were wise men who set up a system of government that made it possible for the people to govern themselves and to succeed or fail on their own.  They also understood that the system would only work when the people have good morals because people with weak morals could use the system to obtain stuff.

                    Benjamin Franklin understood the danger to the Republic when people vote for stuff:  "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."  It appears that America reached the point that Franklin described in 2012; therefore, our republic must be nearing its end.  The "takers" re-elected the worst President in history of our nation because he gives them stuff.  I can only imagine the ugliness that will take place when the government can no longer take care of them.

                    Thomas Jefferson discussed redistribution when he said, "To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

                    Alexis de Tocqueville was a Frenchman who visited the United States in the early 1800s; he made the following statement in 1835:  "A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess [stuff] from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.  The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years."  Will the fact that we have a Republic save us?

                    Americans are some of the most compassionate people on earth, and most of us are more than willing to share our property  voluntarily to help others in need; however, we balk at having our property forcefully taken from us to give to those who will not work.  We know that there is a very fine line between "giving a hand up" and giving "handouts."  The old saying is still true:  If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day.  If you teach him how to fish, he can feed himself.

                    Another Franklin quote illustrates this dilemma:  "To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance?  Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good."

When government takes from the "makers" to give it to the "takers," they destroy the freedom of both groups.  Howard W. Hunter explained how this works:  "The government will take from the `haves' and give to the `have nots.'  Both have lost their freedom.  Those who `have' lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire.  Those who `have not' lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received.  They got `something for nothing,' and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift."  ("The Law of the Harvest," Devotional Address, Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966)

                    The laziness and the selfishness of the "takers" has brought our Republic to a very dangerous point.  They re-elected Barack Obama in spite of the fact that he has terrible policies, which have brought us to the edge of a fiscal cliff.  Obama continues to claim that the "wealthy" are not paying their "fair share" and institutes policies to take their wealth to distribute to the "have nots."  He does not seem to realize that there is not enough wealth in our nation to meet the needs of everyone.  When all the wealth is taken from the "wealthy" and redistributed, the entire nation will be poor with no one to help the truly needy.

                    The Founders struggled with the dilemma of helping others with compassion without doing them harm.  W. Cleon Skousen wrote that the writings of the Founders suggested the following highlights:  "1) Do not help the needy completely.  Merely help them to help themselves.  2) Give the poor the satisfaction of `earned achievement' instead of rewarding them without achievement. 
3) Allow the poor to climb the `appreciation ladder' -- from tents to cabins, cabins to cottages, cottages to comfortable houses. 
4) Where emergency help is provided, do not prolong it to the point where it becomes habitual.  5) Strictly enforce the scale of `fixed responsibility.'  The first and foremost level of responsibility is with the individual himself; the second level is the family; then the church; next the community; finally the county, and, in a disaster or emergency, the state.  Under no circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare.  The Founders felt it would corrupt the government and also the poor.  No Constitutional authority exists for the federal government to participate in charity or welfare."  (The Five Thousand Year Leap, p 90)

                    Governmental redistribution of stuff is an evil policy.  When government takes from the "haves" to give to the "have nots," it should be called theft.  When government continually gives to the "have nots," it destroy the will of the people to provide for themselves.  Progressives want to keep the people on the government "plantation" in order to control them.  Politicians and judges have moved our nation so far from constitutional principles that our Constitution is now "hanging by a thread" and on "life support."  If our Constitution is weakened much further or destroyed, our Republic will go down the slippery slope to destruction as numerous other civilizations have done.  Without the wealth and strength of the United States, numerous other nations will fail also.   We must return to Constitutional principles and policies that provide equal rights without worrying about equal stuff and teach our citizens to take care of themselves.

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