The desire for freedom lies deep in the heart of all men and they are willing to do a great deal to achieve it. What makes America’s system unique, apart from acknowledging that undeniable truth, is the desire to help others experience it. In the overarching history of human experience, no cave scribbling, no papyrus, no scroll, no doctrine or document written ever secured more freedom for the individual than the United States Constitution.
How is it that this cornerstone, this foundation of liberty is such a strange occurrence on the world stage among governments past and present? All other nations have been established for the express purpose of controlling their subjects to a greater or lesser extent. Freedom was always reserved for the powers that be to exercise with relative impunity. While, with that of the people governed, it was issued at the discretion of government.
Only the government was free to choose how men were to be controlled. They were free to limit the freedom of their subjects, to parcel its measure equally or, as was more often the case, distribute it unequally in exchange for favors for personal gain. They could allow men to handle their own affairs and move about freely in their daily lives. Yet, it was always in the power of the state to give or take at its leisure. If the people took too great an advantage of the liberty they were allowed, oppressive reprisal was sure to follow. They were restricted in travel, prevented the means to protect life or property. They were prevented from gathering to discuss matters of their own treatment. Government has always been keen on rounding up and disposing of those who can articulate the sentiment of the people effectively. The power of words can topple the most entrenched regimes. History is replete with such examples.
That history has demonstrated through a multitude of insurrections, uprisings, coups, rebellions, revolutions, territorial disputes, civil wars and wars in general (both great and small), that at no time have the whole of any people been content with their station in life. Equally disparaging on the masses was social strata. There existed caste systems, priesthood/clergy/worshippers, nobility/merchants/peasantry, aristocracy/proletariat, emperors/warriors/servants, slaves/masters, oligarchy/workers, or haves/have nots. Power was always possessed by the former at the expense of the latter. For most human beings, since man’s inception, the place of their birth and to whom they were born determined their fate from cradle to grave. It was the rare exception to the rule that one was able to break free from the bonds of their birth. That is until America.
You see, America dissolved all preconceived notions of superiority based on a person’s original condition. One born to a blacksmith could become prominent in real estate. One born to a criminal could become a judge. One born to a minister could find himself in prison. It was not prestige of name or monetary worth that established the value of the individual. It was his actions alone that determined his success or failure. America no longer observed traditional or legal barriers to stand in the individual’s way.
In America, limitations on freedom were put to paper as a declaratory decree. Our government, unlike many of its predecessors, would not be free to take the substance of the people for its own benefit. It was not free to determine those who would succeed or who would fail. It was not free to prevent people from forming opinions even if those opinions were adverse to its own existence. It was not free to take people off of the street without justification. It was not free to pass arbitrary edicts on the people without their consent. In fact, it is not free to do much of anything without the people’s permission and then only by our elected servants making those decisions on the people’s behalf.
This is to ilustrate the shift that has occurred in America, to demonstrate how skewed our vision has become and the original intent for our limited government vs the criminal intent with which it currently operates. Our government is no longer distancing itself from previous or even contemporary examples but rather is becoming an amalgamation of the very worst of them all. Left unchecked, it stands on the precipice of achieving the greatest consolidation of power that man can attain in this world. With all of the tools at its disposal it would, indeed, prove FREE to do whatever it desires and with whomever it pleases.
Every interaction between a man and his government results in an exchange of freedom.