by site founder, Connie Rice
Free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press are all part of the rights guaranteed to all Americans in the 1st Amendment. The Covid-19 pandemic has created global concern about close contact and has subsequently caused some of America’s precious and hard-won freedoms to be partially and temporarily suspended in a way not seen before in American history. Of course we should be cautious with an air-borne pandemic – the Bible taught distancing as a response to airborne illness. Old Testament laws were unlike the practices of their time, and in retrospect, appear to have been far ahead in its treatment of disease. Scripture teaches that God will protect His followers spiritually, but does not promise that they will avoid physical harm. Our broken world is due to the entering of sin. God promises a new heaven and earth, but that time has not yet arrived. Thankfully, the Covid-19 death rate is proving to be much lower than the wildly inaccurate models initially given.
The system of government set up by America’s founders was and is unique in the world. Our founders rejected the idea of a monarchy with a king. They also “feared a strict democracy” because of the strong tendency seen throughout history that even a slight majority tends to end in mob rule and cause those in the minority to live under oppression. The system they created is a constitutional republic based on the rule of law where representatives are elected by and are subject to the citizens who voted for them. American government includes checks and balances in order to minimize corruption and oppression, and guarantees individual rights – not from the government, but based on each person’s rights as a human being given by our Creator so that government cannot take them away. This has given rise to the most free, innovative, and prosperous nation in the world, unleashing people to follow their dreams and take risks with the potential and opportunity to succeed (or fail), regardless of where they came from. With hard work, everyone has the opportunity to improve their lot in life.
“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!”John Adams – 2nd U.S. President, signer of the “Declaration of Independence“ & “Bill of Rights”, judge, & diplomat.
Interestingly, America tried a socialistic economy at first, but it failed miserably. It was then that they followed the biblical principles of respect for the rule of law, personal responsibility with each person working so they could eat (while caring for those who were unable to work), and received the fruit of their own labor while trading with others who offered a different crop, product, or service. The result was the free enterprise system or capitalism which, even with its faults, offers the best hope for citizens by providing equal opportunity rather than equality of outcome. Competition pressures businesses to offer a better product, service, or job than their competitors, which provides more choices for consumers and employees while being beneficial to society as a whole. It also provides opportunity to anyone with a vision to innovate and offer a product or service that meets the needs of individuals and society as a whole.
Those who tout socialism as “more fair”, “more compassionate”, or a “better alternative” have not learned from history. Unfortunately, the public education system has not provided younger Americans with an objective view of history and so many are unaware of the strengths and positive contributions of their own country. Focusing on equality of outcome rather than equal opportunity necessarily prevents individuals and businesses from rising up in life. Nothing is free and government does not produce revenue, so whatever it spends comes from taxes imposed on the productivity of the private sector (taxpaying businesses and individuals).
Businesses all start out with individuals who have a vision, so big businesses are those who have been successful in communicating and implementing that vision while concurrently meeting a demand by providing a needed or wanted product or service. Equality of opportunity allows for limitless potential. No form of government is perfect, but anyone fairly assessing history would see the brilliance of our founding fathers. Unfortunately, we have drifted toward some of the very things they were concerned could occur and went to great pains to prevent.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”John Adams – 2nd U.S. President, signer of the “Declaration of Independence“ & “Bill of Rights”, judge, & diplomat.
Our founding fathers understood the dangers of a strict democracy, a monarchy, a large central government, the tendency of mankind toward self-interest and corruption, and that too much power invites corruption. They instead relied on the biblical principles of respect for the rule of law, a strong work ethic, personal responsibility, property rights, strong moral values based on biblical teachings, a Constitutional representative government selected by and accountable to their voters, and a deep respect for the God of the Bible because they recognized His miraculous intervention and favor throughout America’s early years.
The 20th Century brought much bloodshed and oppression with two world wars, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Desert Storm, the Iraq War, and the war in Afghanistan. The earlier of those were fighting against oppressive communist regimes whose quest to gain and maintain power resulted in the murder of millions of people. The latter were fighting against Islamic terrorism. The sheer magnitude of death brought about under 20th Century communist regimes is mind-boggling as millions were slaughtered so those who gained power would be protected from opposing influences and dissenting voices.
“[T]he Christian religion… is the basis, or rather the source, of all genuine freedom in government… I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of Christianity have not a controlling influence.”Noah Webster – Revolutionary soldier, judge, legislator, educator, & author of “Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary”.
It is so surprising (and very concerning) to me that some Americans do not see the dangers of socialism when in our own lifetime, we have seen Venezuela go from being a thriving, rich country full of opportunity to a place of intense poverty and oppression with loss of freedom in relatively few years, causing residents who could fleeing the country in droves. Those who are a little older saw the same thing happen to Cuba, also once a thriving culture and travel destination. The shift in Venezuela began with citizens voting in a candidate offering “free stuff” with big government “solutions” and touted they were “for the people”. In Cuba, it was the violent overthrow of a previous oppressive government by those also touting they were “for the people”. Both became dictatorships who silenced political opposition through fear, intimidation, prison, torture, murder, or with people just disappearing. Even if these moves began with good intentions, the result was devastation of the economy, elimination of the middle class, and loss of individual freedoms. That was replaced with equality of poverty for all except the ruling elite who get richer and more powerful. Good intentions do not necessarily provide good results. People may feel good about wanting to solve what they see as problems with capitalism and solve problems in society, but we should objectively look at how those “solutions” have played out and judge the actual results.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”“Reagan Freedom Speech” in 1964; also known as “A Time for Choosing” speech
America’s political parties have historically been made up of mostly liberals and conservatives, who have both historically shared the same basic values – love for America, love for the Constitution and America’s unique system of government (Constitutionally protected rights & separation of powers, etc.), respect for God and the Bible, respect for the views of others, and the same goals for America – they just disagreed on how to accomplish those goals. Unfortunately, the leftist movement in America gained more power and influence (especially since the 60’s) in politics, education, entertainment, and the media. The left does not share the same goals as liberals and conservatives, but share the atheistic Marxist/communist philosophy.
The 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms and was intended to prevent future possible tyranny, recognizing that an armed populace is not easily conquered. These as well as other Constitutionally protected freedoms are foundational to liberty and are what makes America unique among nations.
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”John Adams – 2nd U.S. President, signer of the “Declaration of Independence“ & “Bill of Rights”, judge, & diplomat.
The other issue recently contested is the Electoral College because of a few elections that gave victory to someone who did not win the popular vote. This system was much debated by the founding fathers and was a compromise between those who wanted Congress to elect the President and those who wanted the people to directly elect the President. The concern about Congress electing the President was that it would create greater opportunity for corruption while a direct vote by the people could result in small, but heavily populated areas of the country making policy for the rest of the country (essentially nullifying the voices of the larger geographical populace). Interestingly, a look at the 2016 and the 2000 presidential elections (especially on a map of counties) reveal that the founding faithers were prophetic in their concerns – a geographical majority of the country chose the eventual winners (blue on maps) over their opponents (red on maps) because of the Electoral College. It succeeded in preventing a few heavily populated areas from dictating policy for the rest of the country. The concept of equality and liberty in our system of government is explained in this a 3-minute “Bill of Rights Institute“ video:
Some people now believe that others must agree with their point of view, and if they do not – then it is not just a disagreement, but the speech of those who believe differently is wrong, dangerous, and must be shut down. Free speech is the right of every American, regardless of their views. We need to accept that not everyone sees every issue the same way and if we disagree, be committed to treating each other with respect. Name-calling and inflammatory language are not productive and when adults (especially those in leadership or in the public eye) respond with hysteria and behave in ways more representative of a toddler’s temper tantrum, what are we teaching our young people? Leaders should recognize that they are role models and be responsible examples by exhibiting basic rules of a civil society where all people have equal rights of expression without fear of intimidation, verbal attacks, physical attacks, loss of employment, etc., as we have recently seen.
Our universities used to be places where different ideas were welcomed and discussed openly, but that is no longer the case. America is the most amazing country that has ever existed and has been blessed beyond measure. It is ironic that most of the people who are rioting, destroying property, burning flags, and painting all peace officers with a broad brush seem to benefit from our free enterprise system (cell phones, name-brand athletic shoes, etc.). I would challenge them to go to a communist country and behave the same way and see what happens. Are we going to strive to be a nation that once again honors God and His Word, protects the freedom of every citizen, and welcomes honest, open debate using love, grace, and respect, or are we going to allow that to be destroyed on our watch to the detriment of future generations?
“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964)
© Constance Rice 2020