Most Americans would agree that liberty and freedom are values fundamental to our nation, but, if questioned, do they really know the intent of their meanings, or have they changed through time? David Hackett in his book,Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America’s Founding Ideas, shows how liberty and freedom form an intertwined strand that runs through the core of American life. But like DNA, liberty and freedom have been transformed and recombined with every generation. Hence, the earliest colonies shared ideals of liberty and freedom may have evolved into different meanings today.
As Americans pause to celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it well may be one of the saddest Fourth’s in decades. The six and a half years of the Obama regime has failed to unleash the nation’s capacity to recover from the 2008 financial crisis and has left the nation saddled in debt and dependency.
In my last post I discussed the apparent inversion of the responsibility of the executive branch of government, namely that it has taken on a far greater role in domestic policy while turning its back in large part on its traditional responsibility for foreign affairs. The result has been an over-mighty presidency at home, a weakened and ineffectual Congress, and a rudderless foreign policy. While I challenged the American public to rise against the tide of executive overreach, I did not thoroughly address what Congress itself can do to challenge the siphoning away of its traditional powers. There is in fact a great deal it can do.
The federal government has been expanding for decades. More laws, more spending, more regulations. More executive actions and judicial decisions that enlarge the role of government. Everybody knows this, but[…]
Occasionally, someone who, like myself, loves history will add Madison, the fourth President, but Lynne Cheney’s new biography of Madison rightly identifies him as the man most responsible “for creating the United States of America in the form we know it today.” It was Madison who guided the process by which the Founders arrived at the Constitution, contributing the fundamental principles it incorporated and writing the Bill of Rights, amendments that ensured its ratification by the original states.
By a two-to-one vote, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a ruling that eliminates trademark registration for six current trademarks of the Washington Redskins NFL team (including for the “Redskinettes” cheerleaders).
The issues surrounding the right to bear arms are many and varied. Most often the debate centers around the lethality of modern firearms, especially “assault weapons” that can fire rapidly with large magazines. Yet one element of the debate frequently referenced obliquely in the mainstream media concerns the actual intent and function of the Second Amendment. Some progressive groups have been endeavoring to turn the originalist position against itself, so to speak. Their arguments are often baffling to those unprepared for them, but they are easily beaten with a little preparation.
A demonstration of just how far the United States has moved from its original founding principles is seen in the fact that in all the jousting over ObamaCare, the general rise in “entitlement” spending, and the burden of government regulation over American enterprises, there is one question that seems rarely to be asked: What should be the size and scope of government, and what would it cost if government were cut down more to the size delineated in the original Constitution?
In whatever direction we turn, we find the heavy hand of government intruding into virtually every aspect of American society. Indeed, it has reached the point that it would a lot easier to list those areas of people’s lives into which government does not impose itself – and, alas, it would be a very short list. But it was not always that way.
Barack Obama is finishing his fifth year as president, and continues to try to move America further in the direction of increased government paternalism with the implementation of ObamaCare, a push for a higher minimum wage, more intrusive business regulation, a drive for higher taxes to redistribute wealth, and a persistent insistence that individuals must sacrifice their own interests for that of “society.”
Many educated Americans likely recognize the expression “separation of church and state” but probably do not know it appears nowhere in the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson used it in a January[…]
Lincoln understood that the intertwining of free labor and property rights was essential to securing and maintaining the liberty espoused by the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Constitution.