This post is the fourth in a weekly Constitution Revolution series that will cover the entire Constitution and many of the principles it was founded on. Click here for last week’s lesson.
Any time you are creating something new, the first question you have to answer is, “What is this thing going to do? What is its purpose?”
For example, let’s say you have a group of people who are going to construct a new building. The first detail they need to agree on is what the building is going to be used for. Is it a school? Is it a house? Is it a stadium?
Without the answer to that first question, this group of people has nothing to base any of its future decisions on. How big should the the building be? What should it be made of? Will it have a roof? Unless everyone agrees on the purpose of the building, all the decisions they make are going to be aimed at achieving different goals. In the end, whatever building they wind up creating probably isn’t going to be worth much of anything.
But when everyone is clear about the purpose of the building, they can use that as the foundation that they base all of their decisions on. If they want to be successful, then everything that is done related to the building should be guided by an understanding of its purpose.
The same thing is true in government. If we want our government to be effective, we have to make sure we understand the purpose of government. Once we have that purpose, everything we do related to government should be guided by that purpose.
That was the topic of my segment this week on TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show:
The primary purpose of a legitimate government is to protect our rights. The reason for that is simple. Like Thomas Paine taught us in his book “The Rights of Man,” no reasonable people would give their consent to a government that intended to violate their rights:
Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.
In other words, the people of a country don’t get together to create a government so that they can be more restrained, but so that they can be more free. I know that sounds completely backwards. Especially in a world where both parties are falling all over each other to see who can grab more control over your life. But stick with me and I’ll show you how it works.
As I explained here, you have rights even when there is no government. The problem in that situation is that you are completely responsible for protecting them - which is pretty much a 24 hour a day job. When you are that preoccupied with protecting your rights, you don’t have time to provide for yourself or - God forbid - time to let your guard down to have a little fun.
So even though you have rights and they are completely unrestricted when there isn’t a government, you never get the opportunity to fully exercise them.
Photo Courtesy of Author.
Now, imagine that you have a family and a little house somewhere. In the past, you could barely leave them alone out of fear that someone would come along and steal your property or harm your family. But now, you’ve gotten together with the other people in society to create a government that will help you protect your rights.
Because of this new government there are police officers to help deter people from violating your rights and a court system that can help you to get repaid if someone does steal something from your house (which is a violation of your right to property). Now that you have some relative confidence that your rights aren’t going to be violated as soon as you let your guard down, you now have the freedom to leave your house to go out and earn a living, have some fun, and enjoy your life.
In this example, the fact there there is a government to help you protect your rights means that you finally have the freedom to exercise your rights. That’s how, when the government sticks to its primary purpose of securing our rights, it can actually make you more free, not less.
When it comes to government, all of our decisions should be guided by the fact that it was created for the purpose of protecting our individual rights. But because we have long since forgotten this core principle that our nation was founded on, government has now become the greatest threat to violate our rights instead of being the greatest protector.
Chad Kent is an author and speaker with a unique style that makes the Constitution simple and fun. Listen to Chad every Saturday during The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze Radio and visit his web site at www.ChadKentSpeaks.com.
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