Many forms of personal liberty are under attack today, from economic regulations that hinder people from their peaceful pursuits of earning a living and improving the material conditions of life to an increasingly intrusive surveillance state that is seems to follow every step we make and every breath we take.
Equally disturbing is the extent to which too many Americans have become desensitized and indifferent to this growth in the size and scope of government. Around this Fourth of July time of the year, after the hotdogs and burgers have been grilled and eaten and the evening firework displays have been enjoyed, it is worth remembering the meaning and significance of this holiday.
The Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
The Declaration of Independence, proclaimed by members of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, is the founding document of the American experiment in free government. What is too often forgotten is that what the Founding Fathers argued against in the Declaration was the heavy and intrusive hand of big government.
Most Americans easily recall those eloquent words with which the Founding Fathers expressed the basis of their claim for independence from Great Britain in 1776:
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 – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.