America is great, not because of her material blessings, or her physical might, but for the idea that is manifest in her:
Man is not here to serve government, but government is here to serve the people.I attended a firework demonstration last night, and for a small town, they were great. It caused me to reflect, yet again, on that which makes this country great. We are the only country founded on an idea, a concept, and not to replace one form of class-based hierarchy with another. We were not formed to replace a king with a president, or a monarchy with a committee of the few. We were formed to re-establish what the founders of our nation considered the natural order – protection of life, liberty, and the freedom to pursue happiness.
In no other nation were those words or concepts the cause of their founding. Only the oppression and arrogance of the crown government forced these loyal subjects to realize that they wanted what was in every heart, the desire to life one’s life as he pleases: freedom.
The founders understood that government had a necessary place in man’s world, and that too much power in the hands of government created a small class whose only purpose was to perpetuate itself, and so they set upon a dangerous course of opposing the most powerful nation on the Earth, and risked all for independence, and the freedom to choose self-government. From our Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evidentThese are truths, and not arbitrarily written, but obvious to all.
… that all men are created equalWe are created beings, with a purpose, and we are equals on the Earth. No one’s station makes him greater than another.
… that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rightsOur rights are given by God himself, and not by man. They are inseparable from our humanity.
…that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Among our other rights, we are free to pursue a course of happiness that impinges on no one else, and are to be free of molestation for pursuit of the same. We may succeed or fail on our own merits.
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.The purpose of government is not it’s own perpetuation, but to secure the rights which we inherit from the Creator, and government is NOT just unless it is by the consent of the people.
To the founders, it was obvious from the beginning that it was a course that was perilous. The men who signed the Declaration were among the most educated in the colonies, and had over a thousand years of Western civilization culminating in the concepts with which they sought to establish a new nation. It was for this that they risked all. Indeed, the last words in the declaration itself are “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
Every July 4, Independence Day, the firework celebrations remind me of “the rocket’s red glare” of our troops fighting to protect the freedom of our young nation, and how we need to be thankful for those who are willing to stand up, as in those days of old, and lay their lives down, if need be, for us to remain free.
Thank a service member today for your freedom, and for the privilege of being in the greatest country on Earth!